It's "like going to a concert with earplugs."

Mike Pomranz
September 08, 2017

Any good wine aficionado—heck, any good wine drinker in general—will tell you that glassware matters. Pairing the right beverage with the right drinking vessel can definitely enhance the experience. And some glassware choices would seem easier than others: For instance, Champagne would sensibly be served in a Champagne flute… right? It turns out the CEO of a major Champagne brand thinks otherwise.

Maggie Henriquez, CEO and president of Champagne producer Krug, came down against the flute in comments made during the official launch of Krug 2004 in Hong Kong this week. "You don't use flutes. You see, using a flute is like going to a concert with ear plugs because it will not let you enjoy what is inside, because a good Champagne before anything is a good wine. This is the first line in the little book of the founder [Joseph Krug]," the CEO stated according to The Drinks Business. "Flutes are for bad Champagne, sorbet or gazpacho, but not to drink Champagne."

Her point is well taken, but is she correct? To understand where she's coming from, it helps to know why Champagne is served in a flute to begin with. Champagne's most notable characteristic is that it's sparkling. Surface area is bubbles' biggest enemy as more exposure to air gives more room for gas to escape back into the atmosphere. Thus the point of the flute: Less surface area at the top helps protect its bubbly nature. But that smaller opening also provides little if any room to shove your nose into, thus limiting a drinker's ability to pick up on Champagne's scent and, in turn, its flavors and complexity.

So, Henriquez definitely has a point. She believes her Champagne is worthy of a full sensory experience, and opting for a wider glass will help deliver it. But, as with many things in life, no one answer fits every situation. It really comes down to a matter of taste. Which do you value more: bubbles or nose? Though with a price tag of well over $300, Krug is probably best enjoyed for its flavors. If you only want to focus on bubbles, a club soda would be a much better value.