Sparkling stemware 8-17-2022

The proper Champagne or sparkling wine vessel is a pain in the glass. Wine professionals largely agree on what glass best presents the wine for tasting, but that is not the whole story.

In many ways, the glass depends on the occasion. If it is a celebration pour—a wedding or other large group—a narrow flute may be the best call. Flutes emphasize the column of bubbles, which accentuates the visual experience, which counts among folks who would not drink wine if not for the occasion. As a bonus, flutes don’t hold a large quantity—a nice consideration if you are buying the bubbly.

Flute downside: the top is so small it reduces your aroma and flavor experience. Smelling is 80% of wine appreciation. Of course, depending on the quality of the bubbly you bought, dampening taste could be a feature rather than a flaw.

Coupes are the other classic vessel. The famous legend is coupes are based on Marie Antoinette’s breast. Well, not likely, but whatever. The trouble with a coupe is the opposite of a flute: the opening is so wide aromas don’t concentrate and get lost. As with the flute, that can be a good thing depending on your banquet budget.

Image by brittaneu from Pixabay

OK, flutes flop and Marie-Antoinette-bosom-inspired glasses are a bust; what is the best glass for bubbly? It likely is a glass you already have—a white wine glass, a pinot noir tulip, a smaller red wine glass. You can go higher end from premium makers who sell sparkling-specific offerings. The key is they allow you to enjoy the bubbles and they concentrate the aromas so you can enjoy the brioche and almond notes of quality bubbly.

If you sip bottom shelf sparkling that really is carbonated white plonk, a jelly glass will work fine. If you sip superior—especially if you savor especially superior—consider a glass that allows for complete appreciation. If you can afford the pour, don’t poor-boy the glass. Or use that wineglass you use every day. It will work fine.

Tasting notes:

• Luretta Principessa Blanc de Blancs Brut, NV: Delicate, refined expression of pure chardonnay from Italy. $14-22 Link to my review

• Lanson Champagne Le Black Label Brut NV: Pleasantly complex, crisp; official champagne for The Championship, Wimbledon. $49-50 Link to my review

• Sokol Blosser Blossom Ridge Sparkling Rosé of Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon 2017: Pretty much checks all the boxes. $64-72 Link to my review

Last round: The best shoes for a pilot? Wing tips. Wine time.