Sparkling Wine Glass Guide for a Party
Vacinations are complete; lockdown is over and you’re hosting a party! But which wine glasses should you use?
Here is SommWine’s Sparkling Wine Glass Guide. We’ll tell you why some choose the flute, the vintage flute, a regular
white wine glass or the old-fashioned coupe for sparkling wine.
Why are we talking about sparkling wine glasses? Because we need something to celebrate in these times.
Guide to Sparkling Wine Glasses
The flute is a narrow glass designed to keep your bubbles active for the longest. This is the most popular choice for serving sparkling wine for good reason…
Pros: A flute’s form is tall, lean and simple. It maintains the bubbles in your wine the longest due to its slender shape. This is a recognizable, functional and elegant crystal glass.
Cons: This style is not great for wine aromatics. The glass provides only a small wine surface and therefore little exposure to oxygen for releasing wine aromas. This glass also doesn’t lend itself to swirling the wine; swirling is the best way to release wine aromas.
The vintage flute
Vintage flutes are wine glasses that are quite tapered at the top and have a wider bulge in the middle. They are fashioned exclusively for vintage-dated sparkling wines and Champagnes.
Vintage sparkling wines are made from grapes harvested in the same year. You can tell which sparkling wines are vintage wines as the front label will have a year or vintage listed on it.
Usually, when when we discuss ‘vintage sparklers’ we are referring to sparkling wines made in the ‘traditional method’. Traditional method wines include the Cava de Paraje Calificados Cavas from Spain and Vintage Champagnes from France. They are generally aged much longer in the cellar before release than their Non-Vintage (NV) counterparts.
Because they are aged, vintage sparkling wines show developed aromas and flavours that reflect the time spent on their lees (dead yeasts) while ageing – think lemon peel oxidative aromas instead of fresh lemon juice or creamier notes of créme brûlée and lemon custard. Toast, baked bread notes and even blanched almonds can be found. These wines are really meant to be sniffed, drunk slowly and reflected on.
Pros: This glass makes you look cool. It’s slim enough to maintain the bubbles in your wine and the slightly wider girth will allow you to smell some of the developed aromatics of an aged wine.
If you don't have any narrow flute sparkling glasses, don't tell your guests. Serve your sparkling wines in a white wine glass. Let them know this is what all of the sommeliers are doing!
The white wine glass
It is now de riguer to serve sparkling wine in a white wine glass. Make sure the glass slightly tapers at the top.
Pros: A wider glass exposes a much larger wine surface to oxygen providing optimal aromatics. While the tapered top funnels the aromas towards your nose when you take a sip. Wine savvy people will adore you for this.
Cons: The bubbles won’t last as long in this glass so pour only a little at a time. Most people will think that you just don’t have any ‘proper’ slim Champagne glasses. So make sure you let them know why you are serving their bubbles this way – to experience the aromas best!
[If you want to understand a French wine label, you should read our series on the History of French Wine Law that starts here.]
[In Your One-Stop Guide to Wine Courses read all of the major wine schools compared and the types of people that excel in each one.]
Cons: The bubbles won’t last since the glass is so wide. And because you can’t walk or move without spilling the contents, these glasses are only good for sitting at a bar. Despite the wide surface area exposure, they are not great for enjoying the aromatics of the wine because they are not tapered at the top and you can’t swirl the wine without spilling it.
Sparkling wine aromatics are delicate, they will escape your nose with this ultra wide top. Better glasses will guide the aromas in a funnel towards your nose.
Make sure your glasses are rinsed with water and free from dishwasher soap residue. The soap residue can prevent bubbles from forming, stop them from floating to the top and leave you without that wonderful visual.
So sit back, pop a cork and zoom with some friends! Here’s to a better year next year!
[This is an updated and enhanced post from December 30, 2019.]