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Farewell to the flute?

The great Champagne houses as well as New Zealand's leading producers of premium sparkling wines – are increasingly serving their products in wine glasses.

BY JOHN CORBETT

2 September 2014

If you hold off from buying Champagne and sparkling wines because you don't have a smart set of flutes, worry no more. Some of the world's great Champagne houses – as well as New Zealand's leading producers of premium sparkling wines – are increasingly serving their products in wine glasses.

A case in point was the media events held in Auckland this week by Méthode Marlborough, where the tablescapes featured a starry line-up of ten premium sparkling wines from Marlborough served in tulip-shaped wine glasses. The wisdom of the choice soon became clear.

Since the experience of drinking wine is at least 50 per cent olfactory, a tulip-shaped glass that allows the aromas, or "nose", of a wine to be fully savoured has it way over flutes where the wine may sparkle prettily but cannot fully "open up", and old-fashioned coupe-style glasses from which aromas swiftly escape.

And aroma – the distinctive, rich, biscuity scent that belongs only to Champagne and high quality méthode traditionelle sparkling wines – is one of the hallmarks of the superlatively good sparkling wines promoted by Méthode Marlborough.

As Chairman Daniel Le Brun observed over lunch at swanky Botswana Butchery (Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Parfait on Brioche Toast; Grilled Hapuka Fillet with Pommes Mousseline; Savannah Beef Tartare with Free-Range Egg Yolk, all perfectly matched with premium Marlborough sparklings) the house of Krug, no less, serves its Champagnes in the Joseph, a tulip-shaped Champagne glass specially designed by Riedel. Riedel and Spiegelau have also recently created bespoke glasses for other major Champagne houses. The response from globally influential wine critics is encouraging.

While a few Champagne houses continue to hold out in favour of the flute, it's amazing, as one of the leading wine writers at the lunch observed, how the simple choice of a different glass can enhance even wines of elegance and finesse. And in that regard, the way to better sparkling drinking for may already be sitting in your cabinet or cupboard: when in doubt, try a pinot noir glass. www.alimentary.co.nz

More about Méthode Marlborough soon...

ENDS

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