Champagne stemware refers to the flute and coupe glasses used in the consumption of champagne, other sparkling wines, and certain beers. As with other stemware, the stem allows the drinker to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink.
The champagne flute was developed along with other wine stemware in the early 1700s as the preferred drinking vessel for wine shifted from metal and ceramic to glassware. Initially, the flute was tall, conical, and slender. By the 20th century, however, the shape preferred by glassware purchasers had changed from a straight-sided glass to one which curved inward slightly near the lip.
The bowl is designed to retain champagne's signature carbonation by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl. 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 thus more bubble texture in the taster's mouth. Flutes, with their deep bowl, allow for greater visual effect of bubbles rising through the liquid to the top. The flute also helps regulate and reduce the oxygen-to-wine ratio, which both enhances the aroma of the wine as well as the taste.[a]
While most commonly used for sparkling wines, flutes are also used for certain beers, especially fruit beers and Belgian lambics and gueuzes. The flute shows off the beer's color, and helps gather the aroma for the nose. The champagne flute is distinguished from the pilsner glass, which lacks a stem.
The champagne coupe is a shallow, broad-bowled, saucer shaped stemmed glass generally capable of containing 4 to 8 US fl oz (120 to 240 ml) of liquid. Legend has it the shape of the coupe was modelled on the breast of Marie Antoinette, but the glass was designed especially for sparkling wine and champagne in England in 1663.
The coupe was fashionable in France from its introduction in the 1700s until the 1970s, and in the United States from the 1930s to the 1980s. The coupe was also fashionable at American weddings in the 1920s, where "champagne towers" were created by stacking coupes in pyramidal forms. Champagne was continuously poured into the top glass; as it overflowed, it trickled down to fill every glass below.
The broad surface area of the mouth of the coupe allows champagne to lose its carbonation more quickly, and the curved, short bowl does not provide nearly as dramatic visual effect for bubbles as the flute. The coupe also has a relatively short stem (compared to some champagne flutes), which encourages the drinker to seize the bowl. This transfers heat to the champagne, warming it more quickly than in a flute.
White wine tulip glass
Champagne is a white wine, and may be served in a tulip glass. The tulip glass is distinguishable from the champagne flute in that the body is flared wider and the mouth is wider. Some oenophiles prefer the tulip glass, as it permits the drinker to get more of the aroma than a traditional flute while the mouth is still narrow enough to avoid quick loss of carbonation, with the glass maker Riedel particularly criticizing flutes.
In the 1960s, double-wall stemware was developed for champagnes as well as other beverages. The glass contains an inner and outer wall separated by a small gap filled with air. This gap retards the transfer of heat from the drinker's hand to the champagne.
- Sources disagree as to whether the narrow mouth of the flute enhances the aroma. Wine writer Victoria Moore argues that the "Flutes are no good for champagne because they are too narrow to allow the odour molecules to gather in a place you can get your nose into."
- Cech & Schact 2005, p. 32.
- Giblin 2011, p. 15.
- Sezgin 2010, pp. 72-74.
- Bray 2001, p. 120.
- Walden 2001, p. 9.
- Andrews 2014, pp. 138, 140.
- Moore, Victoria (21 October 2014). "Why settle for a flute when you can savour the whole symphony?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Jackson 1908, p. 114.
- Villa 2012, p. 373.
- Kohn 2013, p. 175.
- Lamprey 2010, p. 35.
- Boehmer 2009, p. 55.
- Ray 1967, p. 59.
- Liger-Belair 2004, p. 31.
- Andrews 2014, p. 138.
- Blume & McFerrin 2010, p. 37.
- Liger-Belair 2004, p. 33.
- DeGroff 2002, p. 67.
- Robards 1984, pp. 55-56.
- Anne Krebiehl (January 5, 2016). "Farewell to Champagne flutes in 2016?".
- Chris Mercer (November 28, 2013). "My goal is to make Champagne flutes ‘obsolete’, says Maximilian Riedel".
- "Beverage Glasses". The Hardware Retailer. February 11, 1968. p. 183.
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- How to Serve Champagne, IntoWine.Com
- Common drinks served in Champagne Flute, Champagne Saucer, Champagne Tulip, and Coupe glasses