*notcot in design , 13:26

A History of Champagne Glasses- 05.13.09

vcglass0.jpg Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by a curvature? A silhouette? Just stuck in your mind, and you could stare at it for ages? And it doesn’t help that as you stare at it you can’t help but sip it as well? Well there’s something so beautiful about the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and La Grande Dame champagne glasses that i’ve been obsessing about since that trip to paris with them last year… It actually had me paying much closer to attention to both champagne and champagne glasses, since. You’ll see what i mean in the many pictures on the next page… there’s a comparison of some of the various champagne glasses rounded up from holiday gift boxes…

… also further indulging my curiosity about the origins of Champagne Glasses, the Veuve Clicquot historian was kind enough to put together some information on their background as well as some gorgeous visuals - from vintage Veuve ads ~ to scans from their library to take a look at what types of champagne glass styles exist and how they have evolved over the years.

So here is the range of glasses i randomly collected up from holiday gift sets (got on a champagne tasting trend as you can see)… There is my dad’s old simple ones (i think its older than i am!) ~ Perrier Jouet (the flowers are kind of cute) ~ Dom Perignon (its MASSIVE!) ~ And the Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame and Yellow Label glasses… it is just so cool how they have that tulip shape and come to such a POINT at the base! And while in Paris with Veuve, seriously, it was so mesmerizing to watch a stream of tiny bubbles come up perfectly from the center of that point… (yes, mesmerizing even before drinking a bottle or two).
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Check out some of these vintage Veuve Ads ~ i love the graphics, and more interestingly, the variety of glass shapes in them!

On some Champagne glass fun facts:

Early on (think 1700s), champagne wine was not extremely sparkling ~ as a result it was easy to pour it from a high level into smaller flutes with minimal overflow ~as it got bubblier, the glasses naturally had to evolve!

Since its origin, champagne has always had an aristocratic status ~ the glasses used would easily differentiate social groups. The Third Estate drinks it in ordinary big wine glasses whereas the clergy uses Bordeaux wine glasses and the nobility, flutes.

The flute is evolving during the nineteenth century. From a quite basic form it becomes a much more complex glass. It can be excessively elongated with a very sharp bottom. But can also be “in trumpet”, particularly wide-mouthed.

Then appears the “coupe” (or glass) at the beginning of the 1830s, a new glass first used during buffets because of its easy using for caterers and waiters. The “coupe” has a different appeal from a culture to another : it is elegant for British people and is popular in Russia because of its ability to contain more champagne. In fact, the “coupe” is the lower middle class’s glass especially for banquets and buffets. Disadvantages are no sparkling and no bouquet…

The flute is the experts’ glass who know it can better preserve all the sparkling and aromas. That is the reason why high society prefers following the experts and keeps using flutes.

In order to fit with the precious nectar, the glass has to be in crystal, the most perfect material to taste the wine. It can also be in silver if it is a tumbler but it obstructs the vision of the color and the bubbles.

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Watercolored engraving signed Sem… Le tango de la coupe

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Late 19th century advertisement…

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Music’s score

 “Le clicquot de Margot” 
(19th century)

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1930’s South American Advertisement

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In the 1930s, a new glass appears which will become the classical tulip-shaped glass we are still using today, composed of a half egg-shaped container supported by a plain long leg. It is long in order to admire the bubbles and the fizz, wide enough for the tasting and narrow enough to preserve the bouquet.

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Of them all the ones above and below here are my favorites ~ maybe the yellow label one below a little more even… the la grande dame glass is much thinner, but comes to a much harsher point ~ something about how the length of the point of the yellow label glass is so cool. And you totally have to watch it bubble!

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Here is the “Trendy” Flute ~ as designed by Denis Boudard ~ it has always reminded me of a thin beer glass for some reason though ~ champagne just never quite felt the same to me… then again, stemless wine glasses have never felt as *special* either…
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Additionally ~ the folks at Veuve even scanned in a few pages from books regarding the various glass options! Take a look and be prepared to visually overwhelm your sense with what your options are when it comes to champagne serving…

From: Champagne : images et imaginaire
by Bénédict BEAUGE
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From: World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine
By Tom STEVENSON
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And here are a few more random glasses found doing a quick search over at Unica Home

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5 Notes

Great find. I never really looked into the history of champagne glasses before but was fascinated by your article and the pictures.

----- Hyde 25.05.11 07:56

Does anyone know where you can purchase the “trendy” flute designed by Denis Boudard?

----- Becky 27.05.10 14:31

Ever wonder how the bubbles come straight from the bottom? If you look closely you’ll see a little cross or dot etched into the bottom of the glass. That’s what causes the bubbles to group and stream up in a straight line to the top!

----- Darolyn 18.05.09 09:17

Very nice article

----- Sébastien | Vodka&Co. 14.05.09 15:16

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