My husband and I recently spent a quiet evening with my son and daughter-in-law which included sipping champagne from flutes that were a gift from long ago. The origin of the glasses sparked a conversation about the shape of the glass and why champagne is imbibed from a flute. I explained that the flute is fairly new and previously champagne was enjoyed from a saucer. This conversation brought my husband back to his suggestion that I write about the different glass shapes in my blog - yes, he has suggested this before and well….here we go!
A happy accident
Champagne, originally thought of as a wine for the nobility, was actually discovered by accident. The signature bubbly texture of the wine is the product of a second fermentation and if not carefully regulated can cause the bottles to burst.
The flute, though it has changed in shape, was originally designed in the 1700’s when glassware became the preferred vessel for beverages moving away from stone and wood. It’s thought to be the more desirable vessel for champagne as the long narrow bowl holds the molecules of the wine closer, keeping the bubbles firm. The longer stem and slim body also dissuade the drinker from cupping the bowl of the glass keeping the hands from warming the wine.
However, the flute has not always been the preferred shape for bubby wine consumption. The coupe or saucer, a wider shallower stemmed glass, rumored to have been molded from the breast of Marie Antionette was the vessel of choice in the 1930’s until the early 1980’s when the flute regained popularity.
Occasionally, champagne will be served in a tulip shaped glass as well, keeping the slender bowl of the flute but with a wider mouth allowing for more of the scent of the wine to be enjoyed. And of course, if neither flute, coupe, nor tulip are available, the wine glass is an acceptable alternative providing you choose a smaller size and do not cup the bowl.
Naturally, I was more than happy to share my knowledge of the champagne flute and saucer with the younger generation! As for myself, I enjoy sipping champagne from a flute. Glass Paradox offers a hand-painted champagne flute in every one of our designs. With over 25 years of glass painting, I have painted champagne tulips and saucers from time to time, these are usually only available in limited quantities at fairs and festivals though if you check the website regularly, they may appear in Amy’s Attic, the craft fair section of our website.
Let me know if you’ve enjoyed reading about champagne glasses and what you like to read about in future blogs. Stay safe and Be kind.