If wine connoisseurs like DLynn Proctor and Maximilian Riedel have their way, Champagne flutes will soon be as passé as those shallow, bowl-shaped glasses used in vintage Hollywood films like Casablanca.
Those sturdy stems didn’t prove to be as timeless as Bogart’s line, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” The tall, narrow flute glass largely replaced them decades ago. The cylindrical shape directs the wine’s aroma to the nose and retains its effervescence longer.
But experts note that the glass makes the tasting experience of Champagnes and other fine sparkling wines one-dimensional. The shape doesn’t showcase the wine’s full range of aromas and flavours.
Last week after a wine tasting in New York, Penfolds wine ambassador DLynn Proctor looked to unwind with a glass of bubbly. When the sommelier placed a flute in his vicinity, Proctor swiftly grabbed hold of the larger bowl white wine glass on the table.
“I’d prefer you serve it in this,” said Proctor, who was named best new sommelier by Wine & Spirits Magazine in 2008 and is one of the subjects of the documentary film Somm.
Maximilian Riedel, chief executive of the family-owned Riedel Crystal, also finds the flute wanting. He has often criticized the glass for diminishing the character of one of the world’s great wine styles.
Of course, Riedel is looking to line-up more business for his company, which has designed special glasses for several Champagne houses. Top producers like Krug, Roederer and Perrier-Jouët opt for glasses with more of a tulip shape to exhibit their wines in the best light.
There’s a degree of fad and fashion at work in all things related to wine, which is why consumers should embrace whatever style of glass gives them the most pleasure. Champagne flutes look pretty and effectively convey liquid to your mouth. But you might be one of the growing number of wine lovers that appreciate more of the complexity and character of your sparkling wine when it’s served in a wine glass with a larger bowl.
Wines of the Week:
****1/2 Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne
BC $69.99 (268771) | AB $66 (268771) | MB $65.66 (XXXXXX) | ON $68.95 (268771)
Roederer’s rich and rewarding style makes it a great candidate for serving in a glass with a larger bowl. The blend is mostly Pinot Noir with a portion of barrel-aged wine makes for a sparkling wine with mouthfilling flavour and a pleasingly creamy texture. This is definitely worth the splurge.