An insider’s guide to the perfect champagne glass
What types of glasses should we serve our champagne in? Find out how tulip champagne glasses make bubbly taste better than a flute or a champagne coupe ever could. Then browse our top 5 champagne glasses – and discover the secret solution already in your cupboard...
Rethinking the classics
Ever suspected neither the champagne flute or saucer were doing your bubbles justice? It seems your instincts were right. And while we love the champagne coupe’s old-world glamour and the flute’s elegant trails of bubbles, for the perfect pour it’s tulip champagne glasses you need.
These days, the classic champagne coupe glass, or saucer, is more usually filled with ice-cream than champagne – and it seems that’s not a bad thing. A favourite in the 1930s and 1960s, it is modelled on Marie Antoinette’s breast (or so they say). But with their shallow, wide bowls, even the best champagne coupe glasses don’t do much to keep your bubbly, well, bubbly. For that, a tall glass wins hands down.
It’s true that slimline champagne flutes preserve the sparkle. Bubbles grow larger as they rise up the glass, releasing aromas as they burst. But that’s not the whole story. With its straight sides and narrow rim, the flute doesn’t show off the complexity of flavours, with little space for wine to breathe or its bouquet to develop. Besides, even for those with the most delicate features, it’s tricky to nose champagne in a flute!
There may always be a place for this glass. Its narrow top helps prevent spills, and it’s perfect for carrying on trays at parties. But among the experts, the revolt is growing. Take Krug President and CEO Maggie Henriquez, for example. “Tasting good champagnes in flutes is like going to a concert wearing earplugs”, she has said. “We only listen to the louder sounds. We will then miss all the fragile flavours and aromas.”
What is the best glass for serving champagne?
If you really want to enjoy all your champagne has to offer, the experts suggest tulip champagne glasses. Their depth allows bubbles to rise, their wide bowl gives champagne space to aerate, and their tapered lip concentrates aromas. In fact, many champagne Houses like tulip champagne glasses so much, they’ve designed their own – each perfect for their individual champagnes. Find our top 5 below.
If your cupboards are already bursting with crystal? Don’t despair. Serve your champagne in a good white wine glass. A stalwart for sommeillers and cellar masters alike, its wide bowl and tapered top won’t let you down.
Our top 5 champagne glasses
• KRUG RIEDEL JOSEPH CHAMPAGNE GLASSES Named after the House’s founder, this tulip champagne glass by Riedel was “created to enhance every aspect of the sensorial Krug experience”, says deputy director, Eric Lebel. There’s a glass for Krug’s rosé too, with an even larger surface area, to showcase its bold, elegant aromas.
• VEUVE CLICQUOT PRESTIGE CHAMPAGNE GLASSES These curvaceous glasses intensify champagne’s sparkle and bouquet. Ideal for the best of Veuve Clicquot’s collection – La Grande Dame, perhaps. For a dash more colour, try the yellow-stemmed version.
• DOM PÉRIGNON CHAMPAGNE GLASSES BY RIEDEL Thin-stemmed and tapered, these Riedel glasses set off Dom Pérignon’s grace and finesse. Note the wide bowl, to give your champagne room to breathe.
• RUINART CHAMPAGNE GLASS Champagne bubbles rise to the surface and burst just beneath the tapered lip of these tulip champagne glasses, for a heightened taste sensation.
• MOËT & CHANDON RIEDEL GRAND VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE FLUTES With their wider bowl, these Riedel glasses are tailor-made to enhance Moët & Chandon’s Grand Vintage champagnes.
What about champagne cocktails?
Of course, if you’re drinking champagne on ice, or champagne cocktails, you’ll need a slightly different glass – although the same principles apply. With a generous bowl and tapering, champagne glasses designed for Veuve Clicquot Rich (made for mixology), or Moët Ice offer champagne space to express its aromas – with room for ice and a twist. And when you don’t want to take your best crystal outdoors, relax alfresco with Moët & Chandon’s shatter-resistant golden glasses, roomy enough for Impérial Brut and Ice Impérial. Or try Veuve Clicquot’s wide-bowled yellow plastic glasses – as hard-wearing as they are perfectly shaped.