Though we like to encourage treating yourself to Champagne as frequently as possible, this particular category of bubbly is often reserved for special occasions. When people finally do decide to pop a bottle, they often take the opportunity to use their fanciest flutes or coupes. And while it’s totally understandable to want to mark the occasion with specialty stemware, these glasses can actually detract from the Champagne drinking experience.
The narrow nature of a flute blocks the wine’s aromas from reaching your nose, so you can end up missing out on much of the nuance Champagne has to offer. Even though it’s tempting to treat Champagne differently from any run-of-the-mill Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, serving it in a white wine glass is actually the best thing you can do to amplify the drink’s flavor profile. Champagne is made in the traditional method, meaning that the second fermentation occurs in the bottle, and according to the AOC’s laws, the wine has to age in the bottle for at least 15 months before it’s released. As the wine ages on its lees, it develops the complex characteristics that are often associated with great Champagne, like brioche and cream. These attributes are essential to what makes it so delicious, and those delicate notes can easily be lost in a flute. After so much time aging in the bottle, it feels like a shame to let the elegant aromas — not to mention the cost of the bottle — go to waste.
To boot, neither flutes nor the unstable coupe allow for any swirling, which helps to further release the liquid’s aromas. The width of a white wine glass gives you the space you need — and don’t worry, it won’t lose all of its bubbles. Its shape also gives you the ability to stick your nose in the glass to catch all of those delicate, toasty notes.
And sure, the flute can have more visual appeal with its signature length, perfectly highlighting the stream of bubbles floating to the top of the glass. But if you’re balling out on nice sparkling wine, wouldn’t you rather enjoy its intricate flavors? So, the next time you pop a bottle of bubbly, consider leaving the flutes and coupes in the cabinet and sticking with your white wine glass. You might uncover tasting notes you’ve never experienced.