Enough With The Hating On The Champagne Flute!

Posted on: December 29th, 2014 by

Summerhill Pyramid WineryLovers of the Champagne flute have suffered enough. I, for one, have reached my tippling point.

Witness “The Tragic Flute: Why You’re Drinking Champagne All Wrong“. While I truly appreciate the first part of this post’s punny title (Mozart y’all), it’s the latter portion of the headline that gives me pause. The “Why You’re [Doing Something] All Wrong” construct doesn’t help the cause of making wine–and learning about it–more welcoming.

But back to the flute. I have to cue up decades-old Jethro Tull clips on YouTube to find any love for it on the internet. Hey, I get that Champagne is a fine wine and folks like to put it in a white or red wine glass as an acknowledgement of its stature. Additionally, the bowl-shaped vessel ensures its scent is not stifled by the flute. But something’s being lost. Chiefly, bubbles.

The intense cascade of bubbles you witness in the snug confines of the flute is diminished by pooling out Champagne in the berth of a standard wine glass. (And science, help? Can we consider the cylindrical form a conduit for concentrated and confined carbonation? Spiriting olfactory pleasure akin to a Champagne aroma inhaler?)

Not science, but staring into the depths of of a roiling glass of Champagne is like the 4th of July fireworks of the wine world. (But not those explosions that turn into smiley faces.) It’s the experience of watching a million bright lights racing towards the sky, unfolding in a dazzling crescendo. Dramatic. Intense. And pretty damn sexy.

The sniff and swirl set shan’t stifle sultry sparkling sentiment. The form of the flute is a signal to an occasion, an event that’s all about pleasure and celebration. It can be a crowded and festive moment or something more intimate but no less wild. While Champagne is not lacking in the cerebral department, it’s also something that can be appreciated on a more carnal level. And that’s where the flute suits me just fine. It’s magic.

 In the interest of equal time, here is my interview with David Speer of Ambonnay Bar. He is a strong advocate for the use of a glass suited for Burgundy when it comes to Champagne. Please visit his place in Portland, OR, as it is awesome.

Full disclosure: I titled my 2012 e-mail interview with Speer for Foodista, “I’m Considering Giving Up My Champagne Flute“. So there’s that. But the flute needs a dang advocate; jeez, it’s had a rough couple of years. Oh, and yes, I did mean to say “tippling” rather than “tipping” point. And, hey, thanks for reading all the way to the bottom. xxoo –Jameson

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21 Responses

  1. Mary says:

    You won’t see me giving up my flute for a Burgundy glass for a very very long time. Probably never. Long live the flute!

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  2. Guy says:

    Post a picture of an empty wine glass (any shape or size) and the viewer is reminded of wine – any wine. Post a picture of an empty flute and the viewer sees BUBBLES! It is such great branding that I fail to see how anyone (for whatever reason) would want to change it.

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  3. That picture of you is beyond awesome.

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  4. jason carey says:

    Sorry I don’t care if you want to drink out of a flute, however I prefer aroma to visuals. . I prefer a fairly small not super wide wine glass..

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  5. Rebecca says:

    Funny – as much as I want to get on board with my wine-industry friends, I still prefer the flute. For me it comes down to one thing. I can’t stand the feeling of bubbles going up my nose and I can’t figure out how to experience the full aromatic blast of champas out of a regular wine glass without the bubble burn.

    So there.

    Happy New Year, Jameson!

    Cheers,
    Rebecca

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  6. I have to agree, being told blatantly that I’m doing something wrong, only makes me want to prove that I’m not. Not my favorite form of “educating”. That said, I still choose a flute for my bubbly. This is a fun and informative post!

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  7. Jean Layton says:

    In my happiest moments with Champagne, I tend to go all Downton Abbey. Luckily I inherited a dozen gold rimmed champagne saucers that were crafted to resemble a maiden’s bosom.
    There is nothing as beautiful as the first sip from them.
    and nothing as disappointing as the final flat one.
    Perhaps I should make a Champagne Ice to fill them and enjoy the newer flutes for my bubbles.
    Happy New Year!

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    • Jameson Fink says:

      Jean,

      I wish I had some cool antique Champagne coupes. The only bummer about them, as you say, is that they don’t hold the fizz for very long. I guess that’s why they’re small, so you can finish off a glass before the bubbles dissipate. Happy New Year to you as well and I look forward to seeing you in 2015.

      Best,

      Jameson

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  8. The tulip wine glass is a nice compromise. That what I prefer because Appreciating a wines aromas is part of the experience for me. The tulip give you the bubbles and the aromas. Cheers!

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    • Jameson Fink says:

      Martin,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This post may be all about my enthusiasm for bubbles, but certainly smell is a critical part of anything we consume.

      Best,

      Jameson

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  9. Pat says:

    Love the flute for any bubbly. To me, it says, “Celebration” an occasion, or simply a mood.

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  10. I like the flute…because it makes me feel fancy. Silly, but true.

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  11. Finally getting around to reading some old posts, sorry for the delay! For me, it is rather simple: flutes for all NV wines not named Krug and a Burgundy glass for the others. Yes, that might be simplistic, but I am all about making it easy these days.

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