The taste of Champagne is greatly affected by the shape of the glass! So in order to have the best tasting sparkling wine, here’s a little insight on how to choose the right glasses for your Champagne preference.
First things first, not all sparkling wine is Champagne. For example, if you love Prosecco you might already know that it’s made with different grapes and a different winemaking method. If you compare Champagne with Prosecco back-to-back you’ll be surprised how different they taste. Thus, it stands to reason that each wine might taste better in a different shaped flute or glass. And this is true!
Of course, you don’t need to have every sparkling wine flute ever made, just pick the one that fits your drinking preference.
Guide to Champagne Glasses
Selecting The Best Glass For You
There are some clear differences as to how the shape will affect your perception of how different sparkling wines taste. There are a few other considerations to keep in mind:
- As the illustration suggests, glasses with smaller openings and bowls are less expressive than glassware with a larger bowl shape. So, if you drink more affordable sparkling wine on a regular basis, you may actually end up preferring the flute-style glass, because it will hide flaws and make the wine taste more spritzy.
- The glass material will either be crystal or standard glass. The major difference between the two materials is thickness. Standard glass requires a greater thickness for durability whereas crystal can be made thinner. Generally speaking, the less material that interacts with your palate, the less obtrusive it will be to the flavor. Thus, you should expect the finest Champagne glasses to be made of crystal (both lead and lead-free). There are many outstanding crystal manufacturers to seek out, but be sure to add Riedel, Spiegalau, Schott-Zwiesel and Zalto to your shortlist as some of the most trusted brands with sommeliers.
- The biggest problem with Champagne glasses is that they are top heavy which increases their potential to slide off trays or get knocked over and break. If you’re already nervous around stemmed glasses, you’ll be even more uneasy around Champagne flutes. Champagne flutes are essentially the bane of people who talk with their hands. If this sounds like you, you might want to stick to a standard white wine glass.
- Maintaining Your Glassware
- One last consideration to make if you’re buying Champagne glasses is your willingness to hand-wash them (who loves dishes?). Standard glass is non-porous and can handle rigorous washing in a dishwasher, whereas fine crystal is more finicky. It’s like the difference between maintaining a Toyota Camry vs a Porsche Turbo. Again, the pragmatic solution isn’t always as exciting, but remember, it’s about the wine…
What We Use
We were delighted to see that Riedel’s new high-end glassware collection, Superleggero , includes a Champagne glass that mimics the white wine glass shape.
We drink sparkling wine at least 2–3 times a week at the office and we open everything from cheap bottles of Cava to prestige Champagne. What do we use? A high-quality crystal white wine glass. We’ve found that the white wine glass gives us the most honest assessment of the wine: it doesn’t hide flaws and it’s easier to stick your nose in (and clean up afterwards). In fact, when researching the latest trends on Champagne glassware for this article, we were delighted to see that several glassware manufacturers are using something similar to a white wine shape for prestige Champagne!