Flute elitism in this day & age? Assessments from Franciacorta

Above: Many late evenings tasting Franciacorta and kibitzing with my good friend and extreme life force Giovanni Arcari in Brescia…

Franciacorta lover Franco Ziliani’s post this week on “Which Glass for Our Bubbles?” got me thinking fondly about my visit to Brescia and Franciacorta in October of last year for the European Wine Bloggers Conference.

Over the course of five or so days that I spent there, I drank sparkling wine from Franciacorta at nearly every meal and it was never served to me in a conventional flute. Nor was the question of what glass to serve Champagne-method wines ever even posed.

Above: At the restaurant Novecento in Brescia, our server — who wasn’t particularly wine savvy — poured Gatti’s Franciacorta Nature in Bordeaux glasses.

In Franco’s post, he quotes Champagne scion Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger (in a passage culled from a pseudo-advertorial post on Drinks Business).

    “Champagne is not only a wine but a symbol of love and generosity and if we forget that we are dead, and I am fighting that,” [Taittinger] stated.

    Continuing, he referred to a battle with “marketers” who, he said, “want us to drink Champagne in a wine glass.”

    “But we have a specific glass…”

The Taittinger quote brought to mind the infamous statement by Frederic Rouzaud of Cristal from a few years ago: we can’t stop them from drinking it…

It’s been many years since I’ve served Champagne or any other sparkling wine in a flute. In fact, I don’t even own any flutes: in my view and experience, the flute is the worst possible glass to serve any wine in because it obstructs the wine’s aroma, especially when your drinking a Pinot Noir-based wine that can tend toward the tannic and tight (we’ve even begun decanting certain sparkling wines at our house).

Above: The Lago d’Iseo in Franciacorta. I still need to post my notes from some of the interesting tastings I attended in Franciacorta in October. The photo, above, of the Lago d’Iseo gives you a sense of the Morainic subsoil and the maritime climate that give the wines their minerality and make them so fresh. Click the image for the hi-res version.

How do you serve sparkling wine at your house?

9 thoughts on “Flute elitism in this day & age? Assessments from Franciacorta

  1. Definetely in a wine glass, depends on the wine, it varies. Don’t have a champagne flute home or at either restaurants, once explained correctly people understand.

  2. Interesting to hear you were always served Franciacorta in a flute during your trip… I would think at least somebody would agree with you on this! When I am working with the representative from Ca’ del Bosco, he always insists we use a regular white wine glass, or even a burgundy glass, to showcase the aromas of the Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta wines. In fact, Ca’ del Bosco has developed their own glass specifically to illustrate this issue- it’s a large bowl with a narrower opening.

    I love my sparklers in regular wine glasses, too- cheers!

  3. You and Samantha have encouraged me to drink the bubbles out of wine glasses and I do see your point. Sometimes a flute can still seem more festive and romantic, so I do both.


  4. I still like perlage, as main characteristic, from a sparkling wine, And there is no doubt that perlage find in the flute the best glass. I generally use and enjoy flutes for basic sparkling. If there is a cuvée de luxe, or a very well aged sparkling, or a single vineyard sparkling or a pinot noir based sparkling then I like to use a moderately wide white wine glass. Without exageration.
    My best.

  5. Never a flute….well unless the base wine is crap, then it might be okay in order to cover or mask some of the flavors. I always tell people, “You can drink your wine from that straight jacket of a glass if you wish” but for me, I want to taste and smell the wine.

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