Do you really need specific champagne glasses and what's the best champagne glasses on the market. The honest answer is that champagne glasses will really help to bring the best out of a champagne that has not been matured. This is because champagne glasses will are designed not only to bring out flavour, but also to increase the density of bubbles (fizz) and help to stop those bubbles escaping the glass straight into your noise.
The difference comes when you're buying an aged bottle of champagne that will need some time to breath before it's drunk. In all honesty, if you're going to drink an aged bottle of champagne, you would do better by buying a great set of wine glasses and using those as they will really help the champagne to breath and ensure that all the flavour is brought out of the bottle.
In this section, we're going to review the best champagne glass for non-aged bottles of champagne as these are typically what champagne glasses will be used for. Before you start, you first need to decide is what type of champagne glass you think is going to be the best champagne glass for you as you have a choice of the style that you want Flute, Coupe or Tulip.
The Coupe, Flute and Tulip
The “coupe” was particularly popular in the early 20th century due to it’s wide shallow bowl which made it popular to drink out of given that in the early 1950’s, champagne was made sweet with extra syrup. If you watch any of the great films from this era you will certainly see the Coupe Champagne glass being used, however today it’s not very popular mainly due to the problem with that shallow bowl shaped glass that does not help champagne bubbles to develop which is a major part of drinking champagne and is actually very difficult to drink out of – you seem to spend your whole life trying not pour it down yourself whilst drinking.
The Flute is the 21st Century’s champagne glass of choice and one that has been designed specifically to promote bubbles, fizz and champagne flavour. Typically Flute Glasses will promote bubbles to develop at the bottom of your glass and rising quickly through the glass capturing lots of flavour and champagne aromas to be expelled from the top of your flute. If you don’t pour your champagne correctly, its very easy to over-fill your glass with the end result being the bubbles easily protrude out the top. The flute is a fanatic champagne glass and one that have been developed for champagne of the 21st century, however given that most user fill champagne right to the top of their glass, more often than not, nearly all the flavours and aromas leave the glass before you have even started drinking. Flutes are fantastic for newer champagnes, but if you’re going to drink Vintage Dom Perion, possible choose a different glass that will allow the flavour to develop.
The Tulip shape is very similar to that being used by Red Wine drinkers and to be honest we often drink champagne out of our Red Wine glasses as the design allows the champagne to aerate and breath slightly before it’s drunk. Very similar to the Flute above, the Tulip design promotes bubbles, however the wide aperture allows the flavour to remain in the glass rather than being directed outwards as the bubbles escape, whilst the wide bowl shape of the glass allows for room for aeration given that it’s very important to let champagne breath for a few minutes before it’ drunk.
The alternative is to drink champagne out of a red wine glass as the dynamics that help to let a wine breath and develop over time are very similar to that with a champagne. If you don’t want to buy separate expensive champagne glasses, buy the Tulip glasses for everyday use and if you drink a special bottle of vintage champagne you can simply use the same glasses that you use for your red wine.
Crystal Or Glass
You need to ensure that you buy Crystal Champagne glasses for two key reasons. Firstly, the crystal glasses will enhance the appearance of champagne in your glass given that crystal has far better reflective properties than glass, and secondly crystal is much rougher than glass that will help to develop bubble formations in your glass.
Lead or Lead-Free Crystal Glass
Typically over the years, crystal glasses have contained lead, but recently glasses containing lead have really gone out of fashion mainly due to the health concerns that come with drinking out of glasses than contain lead. If you read the medical reports, having lead in a glass of champagne really does not matter as the lead is not going to leak out of the glass into your champagne in the short period of time that it’s in their, however a decanter where you store your port or wine few a few days before drinking is another story. Whilst leaded crystal glasses probably look better given that it’s much easier to hand blow a crystal glass, generally every manufacture designs and blows lead-free glasses given the possible health risk’s associated with lead crystal glasses.
Should You Really Buy a Champagne Glass Set
This unfortunately is a choice that I cannot make for you, however these are my thoughts. If you drink vintage champagne that you will want to let breath for a few minutes to really develop the aromas within the champagne, then don’t waste your money buying separate glasses and instead, buy yourself a decent set of red wine glasses such as the best wine glasses that we reviewed here and they will do a better job than any champagne glass ever will. However if you are looking for champagne glasses to use at a party, they you’re going to want to use glasses that promote the development of bubbles and ensure that you’re champagne does not go flat for your guests. If this is you, then look at the flute designs below and choose what is right for you.
The Best Champagne Glasses
- What make the best champagne glass? Here are my thoughts;
- Weight – Light enough that you can it around all night holding it in a couple of fingers
- Stable Even When Full – Flutes quickly become top heavy and easily able to fall over.
- Create and Preserve Bubbles – The idea here is that the wine glass not only creates champagne fizz, but also preserves the over time.
- Effervescence Rim – To stop champagne flowing out and hitting you in the face
- Lead-Free Crystal – Personally I don’t think it matters whether its lead-free or leaded crystal, but if you have a choice, go lead free.
- Thin Crystal – which will help reflect the champagne out of the glass
- Watch Out For Brand Names – Often you’re paying as much for the brand as you are for the glass – think Baccarat and Lalique
- Price – Cheap crystal does not exist period.
The Best Champagne Glass - Riedel Vineum Cuvee Prestige
The Riedel Vineum Cuvee Prestige is our favourite set of champagne glasses on the market right now and one that has done us proud over the years. They are made of 24% leaded crystal, a beautifully balanced design ensuring stability and an 8.2 ounce capacity means that even if you’re pouring a standard five ounce glass of champagne, there is still room for it to breath.
The design is that of an art nouveau lava lamp meaning that it’s almost nine inches tall, but slightly fatter in the middle section which really helps with stability and therefore much less prone to toppling over, whilst curving inwards at the top where the lip is think and evenly blow. At the bottom of the Vineum Cuvee Prestige lies a few small crystal pinholes that help to promote bubbles on the rough surface allowing them to rise quickly and easily through the centre of the glass.
We like the Riedel Vineum Cuvee Prestige, however it’s not perfect. It’s not the tallest or lightest glass on the market and it’s rather a fragil glass meaning that you need to take extreme care when washing and storing, however it’s a value for money product that means if you do break a glass it’s not the end of the world and something than can be replaced easily.