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Brief foray into the history of effervescent wine glasses

by Echipa Wines Of Romania
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Glass cups have become more and more specialized and sophisticated, after gaining ground in front of those made of silver or other malleable metals or after replacing ceramic mugs in the homes of the richest.

Where did the initial shape of the champagne cup come from?

The Champagne Cup appears for the first time in the painting "Le Déjeuner d’Huîtres" by Jean-François de Troy (1734), which depicts a feast after hunting. [1]

In most of the stories is present the resemblance to a beautiful female breast. And not just any woman, but either Helena of Troy (which is impossible, because back then they were too busy with Achilles’ heel), or Marie Antoinette, queen of France, wife of Louis XIV (which is quite implausible, because there were not too many people who had seen the queen’s breasts), or Madame de Pompadour, the woman who, as the official mistress of King Louis XV, she had almost all the prerogatives of a prime minister and was immortalized in different poses in paintings and sculptures, displaying her bust. It would be credible for the Marquise de Pompadour to have allowed the pattern of an anatomical part to be immortalized in a glass, because it would have stated that: "Champagne is the only drink that keeps intact the beauty of a woman even after it euphorizes it" [1]

As with all myths, the breast-shaped champagne cup has its share of modern iterations. Jackie Kennedy was photographed at the Stork Club in Manhattan, sipping from such a cup on John F. Kennedy’s 39th birthday in 1956. Marilyn Monroe or Sophia Loren were also immortalized imbiband biscuits in the champagne cup. Closer to us in time, Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer also put the original imprint of the breasts on the shape of a cup of champagne.

In the mid-50s, the slender, almost cylindrical glass called ‘flute’ (flute) (flute) made its way through the cups, which allowed a display of bubbles on the height and enjoyed the eye for a longer time. His followers claim that it is the most suitable glass for effervescent wines. [2] But this form does not allow the display of the subtle aromas of sparkling wine and makes tasting it a more visual experience, only good to use at receptions with many people or in the hospitality industry. If we add the fact that on a serving tray can fit more narrow glasses than cups, we also have the image of practical choice of this type of glass. In addition, being made of glass, it was easy to wash mechanically, unlike cups, which were made of crystal and had to be washed by hand and then wiped and polished.

Later, the shape of the ‘flute’ glass became somewhat more generous at the base and slightly curved-closed towards the top, to reduce the area of loss of effervescence and to keep the flavors inside. [3] It was the migration to tulip shape or ‘tulip’, very much used nowadays. In these glasses there is a tendency to pour more wine than in the tall, cylindrical ones, in order to better see the pearl. The pouring must be done up to the widest level of the tulip-type glass, so that the flavors have room to flaunt the nose, when we approach the glass to enjoy the zglobie liqueur.

The battle between the shapes of the glasses for effervescent wines is far from over. The cups are still used, to make the spectacular pyramids in which real sparkling fountains are poured from top to bottom (where most of the bubbles disappear into nothingness!), at sophisticated parties. Even poured directly into these cups, the effervescent wine quickly loses its bubbles, because the gas output surface is very large.

Connoisseurs use the glass of white wine, which is more generous in revealing the pearl, and the enthusiasts even the glass created especially for Pinot noir, when they tasted Champagne Rosé or a sparkling Blanc de noir from "his house".

At the Kufstein factory, the Austrian glass producer ‘Riedel’ has introduced a new glass of champagne, in the shape of a tear, with a more generous bowl, which narrows towards the top, but leaves room for the nose to sniff out the flavors released with the effervescence. Inside, on the bottom of these glasses you can see growths or tiny notches, which make the pearl to be much longer and smoother.

Prosecco in a glass of champagne?

Prosecco is the Italian sparkling wine, produced from the grapes of the Glera variety, where the second fermentation is made in the acrotophore. Prosecco lived for a long time in the shadow of his famous cousin, the more expensive champagne, being served in the same type of glass, flute. To give it the right place at the table and to unravel the curse of always being in the shade of champagne, effervescent wine lovers began to use for Prosecco the tulip glass, to show off the generosity of the product and its aromatic and pearly qualities.

How do we enjoy effervescent wine?

To enjoy a drink you need patience. We never simply sip, as soon as the sparkling wine has been poured. If we rush to drink as soon as we have put the wine in the glass, the foam or bubbles are still sparking, and we only feel the smell of carbon dioxide. We have to let the wine ‘sit down’, enjoy the pearling, knock the glass, change the ‘politeness’ and only then, sniff the flavors and enjoy the first sip. The flavors and complexity will give us more satisfaction than the previous nose, which would have been full of gas and inexpressive.

The choice belongs to us, no matter in which of the three types of glasses we will enjoy an effervescent wine, fresh and cold, but always the pleasure of the moment of exuberant socialization or selfish delight will be invaluable.


[1] https://food52.com/blog/12220-from-cup-to-coupe-a-history-of-our-favorite-champagne-glass

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-glass-to-drink-champagne-from-is-not-a-flute-2018-2

[3] https://www.wineware.co.uk/blog/whats-the-difference-between-a-champagne-tulip-and-a-champagne-flute_887/


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