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