It is interesting when thinking about the shape of champagne flutes, how they have changed very little since they were first conceived of many hundreds of years ago. The flute like structure is not a by chance thing; long tall thin stem, narrow, elegant, and extremely beautiful to the eye. One reason for the flute design is that it discourages escape of the bubbles and fizz, although this does not have any scientific basis, it is a nice idea and may have been the original reason it was constructed that way. Functionally the shape also prevents the ability of knocking back such a quality tipple. It has to be elegantly sipped and therefore respected. The vessel for drinking champagne has not changed much since it were first made, although the alternative, champagne coupe/saucer/bowl, tends to be more of a ceremonial chalice.
Champagne was not drunk as readily as it is now, and breaking out the bubbly was once unique to the elite. Now however, special occasions of every variety call upon the prestige of champagne, and with that come the demand for flutes. Champagne flutes
come in an extensive range, with quality lead free crystal commanding a premium price, and something which only a connoisseur would insist upon, right through to ranges more affordable to the everyday drinker. With its beauty in design, comes one fatal flaw, the ease with which it can breaks, after all it is glass. It has to be handled carefully, and the vintage variety of flute can therefore command a high price at relevant auctions.
A traditional champagne flute is by definition, long stemmed, (this often leads to the flute being referred to as stemware) with a thin tulip like holding bowl. The length of the stem prevents the liquid warming whilst you hold it and due to its slimness permits a number of champagne glasses to be lined up on a tray. A champagne saucer is another design created in 1663, nowadays it tends to be used more as a cocktail glass, because the broader surface area at the lip accelerates the loss of the bubbles, and therefore the fizz.
Generally speaking champagne is a sparkling white wine and can be served in a more traditional tulip shaped wine glass, and this is often preferred over the coupe, as it maintains carbonation. In fact there are a wide range of variations on the traditional flute, all of which are favoured above all for its ability to prevent nucleation and therefore promote carbonation.
Those who enjoy champagne claim to be able to tell the difference in the drink, specifically from the vessel they drink it from. A vessel where many bubbles are delivered (nucleation) is preferred over one that does not. Though it may not seem important what you have to bear in mind is that when drinking a Dom Perignon
, for which you may have paid an arm and a leg, you would hope the fizz proliferates. The smoothness or roughness of the glass will dictate whether you get your fizz or you do not. A smooth interior will cause the bubbles to escape more quickly, too rough an interior will make the bubbles pop before they reach the surface or lip.
Surprisingly its functionality makes a champagne flute useful for tasting many different fizzy style beverages. Homemade beers and even fruit juices seem to taste better out of a flute.
If you are purchasing champagne flutes you have to consider many things.
Who are you buying the champagne glasses for? Do they have matching glassware, in which case you have to match the flutes. Are they are connoisseur? in which case they will prefer a smooth clear glass where they will want to see the bubbles develop, and so anything other than a traditional design will be wasted upon them.
The prestige of the champagne flute
makes it an even more prestigious item if they were to be given engraved champagne flutes
in some form or another.Date posted: 02/04/2010