How to Buy Champagne Flutes
Champagne flutes can be the trickiest wine accessory to purchase. A proper or improper glass can make or break the Champagne or sparkling wine experience. Sparkling wines are very sensitive to the various elements of wine drinking — I have been at a party featuring a very smoky entree, and the flavor of the smoke snuck into the Champagne being offered and ruined a potentially wonderful experience.
Factors To Consider When Purchasing Champagne Flutes
As with all wine glasses, only buy glass or crystal. Silver or pewter glasses are just a no no, though many people purchase them thinking they look fancy. Colored glasses are likewise a big DON’T for sparkling wine, as part of the experience of drinking it is enjoying the color and watching the bubbles rise to the top. Perhaps the most important factor is the shape of the glass.
The general shape of a Champagne flute should be like that of a tulip: tall, slender, narrow-shaped “flute” glasses serve Champagne best. This is one instance in which I agree with the other wine snobs out there — Champagne is best in a traditional Champagne glass.
If you plan on serving or drinking vintage Champagnes (not something I enjoy, but to each his own), it would be good to invest in flutes with more bulbous bottoms, so as to better release the bouquet of the vintage bubbly. The purpose of the narrow flute opening is to concentrate or trap the subtle and delicate aromas of a fine aged sparkling wine.
Reasons For Serving Champagne In Flutes
There are three other reasons why Champagne is best served in a flute.
1. Preserving the temperature of the wine.
The long thin stem will keep your hand from raising the temperature of the Champagne. Temperature is incredibly important to the enjoyment of sparkling wine. Keep your bubbly at the appropriate temperature and everyone will enjoy it more. Who wants to drink lukewarm or (worse) warm sparkling wine?
2. Showcasing the bubbles
The thin glass and thin bowl shape will concentrate and push the bubbles up so that you and your guests can enjoy the bubbles — a fine bubble is a mark of a good Champagne, and those in the know will want to see your particular bottle’s bubble quality.
3. Preventing the effervescence from dissipating
Just like a wide bowl will encourage the aromas of a red wine to dissipate (and therefore be enjoyed further by the drinker), a narrow ‘fluted’ shape will keep the bubbles in the bubbly, right where you want them. Yes, its true that a fine sparkling wine or Champagne will hold its bubble for an incredibly long time (I once kept a bottle of Shramsberg open for two days and it was still plenty effervescent), the shape of the glass could potentially ruin the bubbles, and Champagne without bubbles is just expensive white wine.
Purchasing a properly shaped flute will be an investment that will pay off each time you treat yourself (or are treated) to a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine. Keep these factors in mind when you shop, and look forward to many happy nights with a bottle and a loved one.
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This entry was posted on Friday, February 15th, 2013 at 5:58 am and is filed under Wine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.