The Shape of Things to Come?

Champagne lovers ditched the coupe a long time ago.

The coupe is a broad-bowled glass with a stem that you used to see at wedding receptions and on New Year’s Eve—typically when there were a lot of people celebrating a special occasion.

Only it turned out that the only thing the Champagne coupe really was good for was stacking. Dozens of coupes, stacked in multiple rows, made for a pretty impressive display. But the Champagne poured into the coupe suffered, the shape of the bowl causing the sparkling wine to lose its sparkle much too quickly. Champagne without bubbles is simply…wine.

Over time, the flute replaced the coupe as the sparkling wine glass of choice. The flute’s shape helped lengthen the life of the bubbles.

And as Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger told The Drinks Business late last year, “Champagne is not only a wine, but a symbol of love and generosity. If we forget that, we are dead. We have a specific glass…and Champagne is not a wine but a great symbol.”

Taittinger made his comments in the wake of the announcement by wine glass maker Georg Riedel that many Champagne houses were replacing flutes with traditional white wine glasses because “the larger surface areas give more aromas, complexity and a creamier texture.”

Riedel also announced that his company had begun making a new Champagne glass that was bigger and rounder than flutes.

Which preference will prevail? Will Taittinger and other traditionalists be able to save the flute, or will Riedel and his compatriots succeed in seeing the flute go the way of the coupe?

As the old saying goes, time will tell.

What do you think about Champagne flutes being replaced by glasses similar to those used for white wine? Please share your thoughts in the Comments box below.

Posted in Wine in the Glass
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