The Champagne Toast - Flutes, Coupes or Wine Glasses
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
For generations the elegant tapered champagne flute has radiated elegance. Anyone wielding a bubble filled flute was considered to be of the utmost in class and sophistication, but is it the best choice for your wedding toast?
While the flute clearly hasn't lost its appeal as it is still widely used as both a refined and sensible selection, more sommeliers and everyday wine aficionados are being re-educated on the flute as it was once considered taboo. So, before you clink and drink, are you using the best vessel for your champagne toast?
While the tapered flute is the epitome of refinement, let's first look back to its origins. The narrow design of the champagne flute was first used specifically to collect settling sediment. You see, this lovely sparkling wine historically, was most often served with, or as, dessert. If, as was often the case, the glasses were filled during dinnertime, the sediment would then have collected neatly at the glass's bottom by the time the drinker was ready to toast and sip.
The flute has stood the test of time, however, despite the fact that the removal of the lees from a bottle of sparkling wine began as common practice more than 200 years ago. The result for the modern day champagne drinker is that as a result we have been suffocating our sparkling bubbles which only serves to further hinder the full enjoyment of it.
In comes the gorgeous Gatsby classic...the champagne coupe. Drinking Champagne from a wider glass such as this, rather than a thin flute, allows you to experience more of an aromatic spectrum. And when its something as delightful as Arrington Vineyard's "Sparkle" why would you want to hinder that in any way?
It's easy to regard sparkling wines and champagne as a category in and of itself. However, it's best to remember that it is, indeed, just a white wine. The tendency of drinkers to ignore this fact is largely responsible for keeping the flute, essentially not the most ideal glass, as an ongoing trend especially since this style of wine is one that really needs to breathe to reveal all of its complex layers.
If you feel that the coupe glass is simply not for you, we encourage you to consider an elegant white wine glass with a lip with slightly smaller radius than the base of the glass. If the glass has too much of a bowl, like a red wine glass, for example, then the carbon dioxide itself can become too pronounced. Many event rental companies are now offering champagne glasses that incorporate characteristics of both the thin flute and bowl shape. These can the perfect compromise for your toast.
All that said, don't completely ignore the festive flute. Not only do they immediately send celebratory images dancing through your mind, but in a soiree setting, when bubbles are poured and left sitting for a time before being passed around, they're actually quite useful in a different way. The narrow flute will assist your sparkling wine to retain its satisfying effervescence for a longer period of time. Conversely, the still-common coupe glass encourages the loss of bubbles more rapidly which is the least-desirable outcome, of course.
There's also the matter of the type of champagne or sparkling wine being sipped and served. If you're offering your guests a cava, prosecco or crémant then the traditional flute may still be your best option.
In the end, just remember. Champagne is simply a sparkling wine. Treat it as such.