Although flutes are ubiquitous for drinking Champagne, many people are surprised to know that the narrow shape of a traditional flute is not ideal for drinking Champagne. The best glass is actually tulip-shaped. This has a narrow base with a point, a wide midsection, and a tapered opening. Many Champagne producers have collaborated with glassmakers to craft perfectly designed glasses for drinking Champagne. Some are even specifically created for certain vintages.
Traditional flutes are not the best glasses for Champagne for several reasons. First, the slender shape and the opening of the glass trap the aromas inside, which means it’s harder to enjoy them. Second, the narrowness means that only a small amount of wine is exposed to oxygen. Exposure to oxygen is crucial for a wine’s ability to open up and become more expressive. One exception is Prosecco, which is more fresh and fruity than Champagne. In this case, flutes preserve the freshness of Prosecco and are a good choice.
If you don’t have a tulip-shaped glass at home or in a restaurant, you can always use a classic white wine glass, which allows you to appreciate more of the aromas. But if you drink Champagne frequently, it’s worth buying special glassware to truly savor your bubbles.
Another popular Champagne glass, the coupe or saucer, is really not a great choice for anything bubbly. While they might be cute, these glasses are better suited for cocktails. The shape of the glass allows the bubbles to disappear more quickly because they don’t have a point at the bottom.
Here are our top three Champagne glasses.
Riedel Dom Pérignon Glass
Riedel worked directly with the cellarmaster at Dom Pérignon to develop a glass for its prestige cuvée. Vincent Chaperon, chef de cave at Dom Pérignon, once told me that they went through at least 40 different prototypes to design the perfect glass for Dom Pérignon. The result is a glass with a large bowl and a tapered opening. While Riedel designed it specifically for Dom Pérignon, you can use it for any Champagne or sparkling wine.
Zalto Denk’Art Champagne Glass
This architectural glass from Zalto is crafted specifically for Champagne. It’s handblown in Austria, and the crystal is impossibly thin. The opening is slightly smaller than the Riedel glasses, so it’s not our top pick, but it’s still an excellent choice.
Waterford’s Lismore Essence Champagne Flute has a different shape from a classic flute, so it’s the rare exception to the no-flute rule. It is perfectly designed with a flared rim. This means that the aromas are more noticeable than in a flute with a narrow opening. The Lismore crystal pattern is a classic motif. We adore the updated Lismore Essence, which is a bit more contemporary. The cut-crystal design is perfect for a celebration and will add drama to any tablescape.