The champagne flûte (fr. Flûte à Champagne) is a stem glass with a tall, narrow bowl. The bowl of a flute may resemble a narrow wine glass as seen in the illustration; or a trumpet shape; or be very narrow and straight-sided.
As with other stemware, the stem allows the drinker to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink. The bowl is designed to retain champagne's signature carbonation, by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl. The flute has largely replaced the champagne coupe or saucer, the shape of which allowed carbonation to dissipate even more rapidly than from a standard wine glass. Its smaller diameter also allows more flutes to be carried on a tray.
Nucleation in a champagne glass helps form the bubbles seen in champagne. Too much nucleation will cause the carbonation to fizzle out quickly. A smoother surface area will produce fewer bubbles in the glass, and more bubble texture in the taster's mouth.
While most commonly used for sparkling wines, flutes are also used for certain beers, especially Belgian lambic and gueuze, which are brewed with wild yeast and often fruited. The tart flavor of these beers, coupled with their carbonation, makes them similar to sparkling white wines, and the champagne flute an ideal choice of glassware.
The champagne coupe or champagne saucer is a shallow, broad-bowled, stemmed glass, commonly used at wedding receptions, often stacked in layers to build a champagne tower. Champagne is continuously poured into the top glass, trickling down to fill every glass below. Legend has it the shape of the glass was modelled on the breast of Marie Antoinette, Joséphine de Beauharnais, Madame de Pompadour, or one of several other French aristocrats, although this is almost certainly false. The glass was designed especially for champagne in England in 1663, preceding those aristocrats by almost a century.
The coupe came into fashion in the 1930s. It was popularized in post-prohibition America at the Stork Club, where champagne flowed freely and celebrities had bottles of champagne sent to their tables, compliments of the house. The coupe was the champagne glass of choice through the 1960s.
The broad surface area allows champagne to lose its carbonation more quickly, making it less suitable for the current style of very dry champagnes, compared to the sweeter champagnes that were popular in the 1930s, and therefore fell out of fashion except for traditional occasions such as weddings. It may also be used in situations where less carbonation is desirable, in order to reduce burping by the guests. Due to its shape it is also much less satisfactory for those wishing to appreciate the bouquet and aroma of the finest champagnes. The coupe is now more commonly used for certain cocktails such as daiquiris.
White wine tulip glass
Champagne is a white wine, and can be served in white wine glasses. Some oenophiles prefer this, particularly in a "tulip" or "belly" shape in which the rim of the glass is narrower than the midpoint, as it permits the drinker to get more of the aroma than a traditional flute, while still not having enough surface area to cause the champagne to quickly lose carbonation.
Innovations and novelties
In the 1990s, double-wall stemware came into vogue for champagnes as well as other beverages. The inside and outside of the glass are separated by a small air gap to retard the transfer of heat from the drinker's hand to the drink. An additional novelty designed by Alissia Melka Teichroew and sold by the Museum of Modern Art came on the market in 2004, the "inside-out" double-wall glass in which the inner wall is molded in the traditional shape, but the outer wall is simply cylindrical. When filled, the color of the contents reveals the traditional shape.
Another stem variation is the "stemless" champagne flute.
- Champagne Glass Origin, Urban Legends Reference Pages at snopes.com
- DeGroff, Dale, The Craft of the Cocktail. Clarkson Potter, New York, 2002. Page 67.
- "ABSOLUT TUNE Launch at the Beresford Hotel Cocktail Lounge". Gourmatic. August 25, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2012.