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Coupe, flute or tulip? There is more to champagne glasses than you might think

As the grande dame of fashion Coco Chanel once said: “I only drink champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.” Whatever the occasion, the best champagne requires the perfect glassware, and there are more options than you might think.

Your choice of champagne glass will determine your tasting experience, and whichever you choose, there is more to it than simply aesthetics.

Coupe
The oldest style of champagne glass is the coupe, which dates from the late 1600s or early 1700s. It has a wide and short bowl and a long stem that provides a more refined drinking experience and only holds a small amount of champagne – perfect for gentle sipping. The wide bowl shape of the coupe allows the aroma of the champagne to escape from the wine’s surface, bringing immediacy to the aroma and experience, but it also allows the bubbles to escape quicker.

Flute
The flute-shaped glass has the opposite effect, allowing the wine to effervesce more fiercely while withholding the fragrance. Despite this drawback, the flute is still considered by many to be the glass most closely associated with champagne. The tall yet narrow shape of the flute also helps to reduce the oxygen-to-wine ratio, enhancing the aroma and the taste.

Tulip
More recently there has been an increasing trend towards the tulip glass, which has a flared body, curved base and a more open top. The tulip-shaped glass combines the narrow shape and height that is so important for lasting carbonation, along with a wider surface opening to allow you to enjoy the aroma. The tulip glass, like the flute, bears a long stem to prevent heat transfer from the palms of the drinker to the champagne, helping to maintain the chilled temperature.

Champagne at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
Daniel Kis, Head Sommelier, oversees the wine cellar at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. It contains over 30,000 bottles of wine, which includes a large selection of cuvées of prestigious champagnes from Krug, Moët & Chandon and Ruinart. In fact, the hotel is one of only four Krug Ambassades in Switzerland.

Daniel believes that a champagne glass should have a rim that is narrower than the widest point of the glass. “Our champagne is often served in a large red wine glass,” he says. “It has a wider bowl that allows the champagne to ‘breathe’, releasing more flavours and aromas. It’s a similar effect to decanting wine.”

But, he adds, the most significant factor affecting the tasting experience is how the champagne is produced, stored and aged: “Good champagnes can improve with age as the bubbles become smaller, rounder and smoother on the tongue. Our oldest bottle is currently a 1982 Krug Collection; it tastes amazing and it is still not fully developed.” 

Discover Badrutt’s Palace Hotel’s impressive cellar with a Wine Cellar Visit and Degustation, available every Saturday from June 29 to 7 September 2019. Click here for more information.

Published July 2019

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