In which glass should you drink champagne, a glass or a flute?
Champagne lovers have been debating for generations whether to use a flute or a coupe, and if you think that old argument would spoil your New Year's Eve, you should know that the professionals have their opinion on the subject. Sommeliers and producers are confident that it will be champagne served without a flute or a coupe. The flute is too narrow: the bubbles tickle the nose, masking the aromas. The glass is too wide, letting them escape on both sides of the nostrils.
Champagne is a wine, and like all wines, it smells and tastes like any other. However, champagne has the particularity of being considered a festive drink, and professionals recommend a flute-shaped glass, but with a rounded middle. The glass should be elongated like a flute, but rounded in the middle. An egg-shaped glass that looks like a rugby ball is also considered ideal. The reason for this is because of the bubbles in the champagne, which would affect the taste of the wine if the glass was straight. Andreas Larsson, named the world's best sommelier in 2007, believes that the best glass would be a flute-shaped glass with a wider base and a narrow mouth. The glass should enhance the taste and smell of the drink, he says. However, according to Larsson, many restaurants and bars still serve champagne in glasses that are not up to par.
Philippe Jamesse is the sommelier at Les Crayères, a gourmet restaurant in Reims. One of the best specialists in the field, he has developed four models of wine glasses specifically for him. The glasses were developed by a local glassmaker, and they provide a special sensation that other wine glasses cannot," says Philippe.
When washing glasses in hot water, it's important to use a detergent designed for high temperatures.
The sommelier prefers round glasses, believing they are better suited to serving wine. He is careful to consider the rise of effervescence in the glass, wanting the bottom of the glass to be V-shaped but also pointed so that the bubbles can rise in high chimneys. The middle of the glass should be as wide as a wine glass, according to the sommelier, because a material that is stretched has more ability to expand and promotes aroma.
The bubbles carry the aroma from the bottom of the glass to the nose. The consumer should know that it is the effervescence that does this, and should tighten their grip on the glass. Consumers should also wash their glasses with hot water (without soap) to produce beautiful bubbles.
Chef Arnaud Lallement of Assiette champenoise (another fine dining restaurant in Reims), also says that customer expectations often influence how champagne is served. He admits to changing his style to meet their needs, though he thinks the different bottles are enjoyable. For a sparkling aperitif, Arnaud says older vintages and brighter champagnes are served in larger diamond-shaped flutes, while wines are poured into larger Burgundy glasses.