Flickr photo by decidia
In What It's Worth, I investigate why an everyday household item is worth buying...and what to look for when shopping for that very item. This week, I have my eye on champagne glasses.
I've completely turned my attention to the final hurrah of 2011: New Year's Eve. Egg nog and wine may have been the drinks of choice during Christmastime, but it's all about sparkling Champagne when it comes to New Year's Eve. That said, I've been curiously perusing the many different versions of champagne glasses -- or flutes as they are also called -- on the market right now.
While the champagne glass might seem like a more recent invention, its earliest form actually goes far far back in history. However, it wasn't until specially made Murano flutes were made and exported in 16th-century Italy that the champagne glass gained popularity and eventually became the widely accepted vessel for Champagne specifically in the 18th century -- it replaced the 'coupe', which up until then had been the stemware of choice for sparkling wines.
The triumph of the champagne flute over the champagne coupe essentially comes down to one crucial point: the flute's smaller opening is far better at retaining the carbonation than the coupe whose wide mouth exposes the Champagne to too much air and causes it to fizzle out much more quickly.
Although there are many trumpet- and fair-shaped flutes, the best champagne glass has a tulip-like design with a narrow opening and a slightly rounder body, much like white wine glasses. Another similarity to white wine glasses is that the flute's long stem is meant to be held by your fingers and prevents heat from your hand that might effect the Champagne's flavor.
And if you're looking to shop for a few champagne glasses, I've found a few that might be worth considering here.
The classic shape and the slightly wider body make it perfect for Champagne because it will naturally preserve both the flavor and the carbonation. IKEA.
I love the trumpet-style design but the wide mouth is likely to cause the Champagne to fizzle out much faster. Cost Plus World Market.
The height and shape of this champagne glass are perfect, but I would probably stick to a clear glass instead of this amethyst-hued option. Target.
This is definitely a unique modern take and the designs on the glasses are lovely. However, the lack of stems means that it might not be the best for the really good Champagne. Kohl's.
Leave it to Riedel do one of the best champagne glass designs that has all the right elements: narrow mouth, rounder body and a slender stem. Macy's.
I love Waterford, I love crystal, and I love the pretty curvy silhouettes of these glasses. But I'd stick to a more classic shape if I were to pop open a really great bottle of Champagne. Bloomingdale's.
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