There are white wine glasses, red wine glasses and Champagne flutes, and that’s just if you keep it simple. As we well know, there are actually hundreds of glasses out there from which to choose. But, if we’re keeping it simple, the general rule one would think we are all supposed to follow would be that white should be served in a white wine glass, red in a red wine glass, and of course Champagne in a flute…so then why was there that one time when a restaurant maybe served you a glass of bubbly in a regular old wine glass? Because it’s ok, and sometimes even better, to do so.
We know we’re turning your world upside down at this very moment, but contrary to popular belief, bubbly does not have to always be served in a flute in order to be properly enjoyed. In fact, there are limits to the flute–most importantly it’s impact on aroma–that make serving a glass of bubbly in a normal wine glass much more desirable than in the narrow flute we all know well.
With many bubblies, especially expensive Champagne, aroma is one of the most important aspects of the beverage. So how are you going to cram your nose down into that narrow flute to get a nice whiff? It’s going to be pretty difficult, which is why the flute isn’t always the best way to go. With a regular wine glass, the bowl and larger opening allow for more oxygen to enter the wine, and therefore more aroma to be released; plus it’s much easier and less awkward to stick your nose inside.
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However, we don’t want to go to the extreme of saying the Champagne flute should always be passed up for the wine glass, it all just depends on your preference. After all, the flute does serve a purpose, besides making you look fancy, and that purpose is to cause the sparkling wine’s bubbles to dissipate more slowly.
When sparkling wine is served in a standard glass, the extra room that allows the wine to slosh around and cause oxygen to enter it can also mean that the bubbles might dissipate more quickly, leaving you with a semi-flat glass of wine by the time you reach the bottom. In a flute, this is less likely to happen, as the small area and tall sides are designed to retain the wine’s signature carbonation. Plus you do look pretty boss with a flute in your hand once in a while. It all just depends on what you’re going for.
If you enjoy sparkling wine for the bubbly carbonation as well as the glass’s festive appearance, stick with the flute. However, if you’ve ordered a nice bottle and want to more fully appreciate the wine’s aromas and flavors, go with a regular wine glass instead. There is no right or wrong way to drink.
So the next time you show up at a restaurant or a friend’s house and they serve sparkling in a regular glass instead of a flute, don’t get annoyed or assume they forgot to wash their flutes, just recognize they may prefer to serve it that way.