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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Glasses for Champagne

If you’re not a big Champagne drinker, or just getting ready to try Champagne for the first time, you might be wondering if you have enough of the right kind of glasses. (If you haven’t stocked up on Champagne or sparkling wine, and if you’re on a budget, check out these great sparkling wines for under $20 a bottle.) There are several glassware options when it comes to serving Champagnes or good domestic sparkling wines, and the good news is that you can enjoy your sparkling wine from all of them. So if money is a little tight after Christmas you can probably make do with what you have, but if you have a little spare cash (or credit) this post will help you select the right type of glass for you favorite sparkler.

The first (and in my opinion best) glass to use for sparkling wine is the Champagne Flute. There is only one case where there is a better glass to use (more on that later). Flutes slow down the formation of bubbles and therefore the loss of carbonation. Plus they have an elegant appearance that will not disappoint. Flutes tend to hold a little less wine and are therefore useful for controlling serving size and the speed of consumption.

The Champagne Coupe (or Saucer) is frequently used in movies to make certain that you know people are drinking Champagne. Champagne history tells us that the original Coupe was molded from the breasts of Marie Antoinette; an old wine book of mine has a photo of the originals (glasses, that is). While this story may or may not be true, it is hot enough to have survived over 200 years and has resulted in perhaps unforeseen uses of the glasses.

The last glass to be recommended here is the White Wine Glass. If you don’t have any Flutes or Coupes, an ordinary White Wine Glass will do. There is also one case where it is preferable to a Flute. If you are making champagne cocktails, the smaller size of a Flute may become an issue because the gin and lemon juice mixture in the French 75 (try it – you’ll love it) or similar cocktails may result in too strong of a cocktail for some tastes. You can either split the mix across two cocktails in Flutes or use a White Wine Glass so you have more room for your sparkling wine. The size difference will not matter for cocktails like the Cranberry Champagne Cocktail.

Don’t worry if the glasses you saw in the Pottery Barn catalog seemed pretty expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, you can often find good deals on glassware at budget stores like T.J. Maxx or Tuesday Morning. Look for bargains at these store or watch for sales at Target, Williams Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, and even Pottery Barn. Here’s a slideshow on the different glasses that may be used for Champagne.

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