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Nov 10, 2006 08:17 PM

alternative to champagne flutes?

is there another glass out of which i can serve champagne?

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  1. You can. But it doesn't serve champagne to its best advantage.
    An alternative is a coupe, a shallow, broad-bowled, stemed glass that was fairly commonly used in days past but the bubbles dissipate too quickly in those.
    A good flute should also be crystal rather than glass. Crystal has minute imperfections in the surface which cause more bubbles to rise while glass is smooth.
    In a pinch, use what you have, but start saving up to purchase the proper flutes if you plan on serving champagne regularly.

    1. You can serve it in a tin mug, if you really want to...but as the most important points are to keep it cool, keep it visible, and limit exposure to air, then any tallish, narrow glass would do OK. We have a collection of 6 oz. glasses that originally held mole paste, all clear with heavy bottoms, with several different kinds of patterning in the glass (plain, fluted, diamond) - if we suddenly found ourselves without flutes, I'd choose to use these. We also have a backup supply of plastic flutes, which come in packages with stacked cup portions and separate bases which snap onto the stem ends. But whatever you do, please avoid those shallow saucer-shaped stem glasses - if you have to, just use plain white-wine glasses instead.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Will Owen

        thanks. just curious: why avoid the "shallow saucer-shaped" glasses?

        1. re: wowimadog

          Because the surface area of the part exposed to air is much larger, and so the bubbles vanish that much quicker.

          1. re: frenetica

            Right. That's the *worst* conceivable glass to serve sparkling wine in.

            1. re: Karl S

              Then why do you see it so often? When at weddings, that's what they always hand out the "champagne toast" on. . .and I have a set of four gorgeous ones, red, blue, green and yellow, and I hate not to have a use for them. (Though I have NO use for flat champagne. . .) Would they be OK as regular white wine glasses?

              1. re: Covert Ops

                They were very popular in the Victorian Era in Britain. Reputedly because old Vicky didn't like assertive bubbles and wanted them to disapate!

                1. re: Covert Ops

                  It, like so much else at weddings, is the pure tradition of it. Coupes are a nearly perfect vessel for frozen drinks such as margaritas.

                  1. re: Covert Ops

                    The coupe is very similar to a cocktail or martini glass. Use it for martinis, manhattens, gimlets, etc.

                  2. re: Karl S

                    I know this is an old post, but you're absolutely mistaken about this. The coupe is the best glass to drink champagne out of. Such an aromatic wine deserves to be inhaled; flutes are extremely awkward in this respect - as well as out-dated and stuff. Plus who's taking so long to drink their champagne that it goes flat anyway. Sheer ridiculousness!

                    1. re: katrosa731

                      I find the flute does a much better job of concentrating the delectable aroma, and of keeping it around longer. As for "who takes so long", we do not toss down wine of any kind. When champagne is served in our family it's usually a festive occasion with much besides drinking going on - Christmas morning, for instance - and we expect the wine to be replenished at decent intervals, not every two minutes. It is the coupe, not the flute, that is outdated. And stuff.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        They're both outdated. A few years ago I had a Champagne owner/winemaker in my house for a tasting and I asked her what sort of glass she prefers, and she said a white wine glass - as do I.

                        Flutes are designed to conserve bubbles. I expect a lot more from an expensive bottle of Champagne than just bubbles - I want to appreciate the bouquet as well, and a small bowl has the same problem in that regard as it does with any other kind of wine.

                        Not sure what a coupe is for, other than to encourage you to slosh bubbly onto the floor. It captures neither the bubbles nor the bouquet. I haven't even seen a coupe in at least 10 years.

                      2. re: katrosa731

                        Welcome to Chowhound, katrosa. I realize this is your first post.
                        That being said...


                        Though coupes may be your preference, the science doesn't back up what you say. Here's a smattering of sparkling physics:

                        -- Coupes have dead zones on the outer perimeter of the glass, and bubbles don't reach the top of the liquid *before* bursting. So, fewer bubbles, fewer aromatics, and less flavor overall in Champagne/sparkling wine drunk from a coupe.
                        -- Part of the reason for this is the larger diameter of the coupe and its shallower depth compared to a flute.
                        -- The narrow shape of the flute focuses the aromas. Not so with the coupe.
                        -- Better formation of the bubble "chain" in the flute, because of engraved nucleation sites.
                        -- Coupes spill wine more easily than the flute.

                        Read the science, katrosa, if you're interested. Now that more is known about bubble formation, aromas and nucleation sites, new glasses will be designed that best showcase champagne's bubbles, aromas and flavors.

                        In fact, there's a great article this month on the physics of champagne, which includes scientific analyses of bubble formation and dissipation, bubble chains, fluid vortices, and how the shape of the glass makes a difference in the sensory enjoyment of champagne. Lots of great illustrations of both the flute and the coupe, and very clear descriptions.

                        It's in the July/August 2009 of American Scientist:

                        Happy drinking and posting.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Though an archaic dinosaur, I will give the flute the big nod (traditionalist), and then either a Chardonnay stem, or actually a Sauternes' stem. Still, I've done too many Champagne (and sparkler) tastings in different stemware to buy into the coupe. Not sure how Hollywood glomed onto that design, but it worked through the 30's and 40's, but only for the masses. Awkward, and ill-suited for the job, these glasses are suited for flat pink sparklers an nothing more - IMHO. I happen to have a few dozen, but they are for desserts only and not for Champagne.

                          Sorry, but I am with ML on this one, though my choices and preferences are based more on my personal tastings, than on her pure science. This is not meant to diminish science, as that often explains what one experiences. It gives us the "why."


              2. If you have a set of vintage crystal, perhaps from your mother or grandmother, it may include the coupe glasses which were used for champagne in the 40s or so when it really wasn't that common in America.
                Convert those to dessert dishes or for some kind of appetizers.
                Get some good flutes for champagne. They don't have to be terribly expensive and can often be found at tag sales or thrift shops.

                1. I personally try to stay away of standard flutes, very inconvenient to serve champgne wines.
                  The best, as far as I'm concerned, is white wine stems, of the type usually associated with Loire wines.
                  If it has to be a flute, then I use the ones with a "belly" shape around mid way from the bottom, very convenient to absorb froth while pouring. Best example I know of this type, the one in Baccarat's "Oenology" series.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RicRios

                    I second the rec for using white wine glasses. That's what it is, after all (well, aside from rose' champagne and you could argue about blanc de noirs).

                  2. I've been very happy with these from the Riedel Vinum series - about $110 for 6 - got two "sets" from different family members for Christmas one year - less than $20 a stem.


                    I started off with ones from the Sommelier series - wedding gift - but they were incredibly delicate and all but one broke - either in washing (and I was careful) or guests gesticulating too actively while holding a glass.

                    But I'll drink champagne out of any glass if that's all there is!