Charles Heidsieck wants to burst your bubble – decanting Champagne

The flute has been the glass of choice for champagne enthusiasts for decades. If the folks at Champagne house Charles Heidsieck have their way, the flute’s days are numbered.

In New York on Wednesday, they poured their entry-level, Brut NV in both a classic flute as well as a white wine glass. The aromas in the wine glass were much richer in large part because you can actually stick your nose in a wine glass, which is not the case with a flute.

“The Champagnois have communicated around the bubbles, not the wine,” said a spokesman.

The flute accentuates the bubbles coming off the bottom because of a “poil mousse,” or a roughened “scratch point,” said Maxmilian Riedel, also on hand for the event. Regular wine glasses do not have a scratch point, thus any bead tends to be a bit willy nilly, if even present at all. (See the scintillating 15-second video above for comparison of the bubbles!)

riedel_amadeoThe thrust of the presentation, however, was the unveiling of a “uniquely designed decanter” by Riedel for Charles Heidsieck. The “organic lyre ‘U’ shape” is handmade and mouth-blown and bears a striking resemblance to the “Amadeo” Riedel decanter with a Charles Heidsieck badge. A bottle of the Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995, a lovely wine, comes with the decanter in a presentation box for $600.

“I think there’s nothing better than aged Champagne,” Riedel said. “And that’s what happens in the decanter. I decant to enrich the wine, not to lose the bubbles.”

Are you going to throw out your flutes and start serving your Champagne in white wine glasses? Or from a lyre-shaped decanter?

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31 Responses to “Charles Heidsieck wants to burst your bubble – decanting Champagne”

  1. I had been introduced to the concept of pour aged champagnes into white wine glasses, and I agree that’s a good way to truly appreciate the matured notes on the nose. I really find flutes pretty and love watching the bubbles in them, so personally for NV champagne and other sparklers I may just break them out anyway.

  2. some of us with more, uhm, *ample* noses have been enjoying Champagne from normal/tulip-shaped wine glasses for several years 🙂

  3. I suppose it’s easy enough to check by pouring champagne into a white glass and letting it sit in a fridge for an hour.

  4. We just did a sparkling tasting and there was some debate about whether to taste it in “regular” glasses because many believe that’s better, for the reason you discussed (aroma) or flutes. We went with flutes because that’s how it is consumed by the public. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon, because sparkling is very much an exercise in marketing and a big part of that is the flute and the bubbles.

  5. I most often use the lovely tulip-shaped glasses I got from Pol Roger, but as soon as I have $600 to blow, I going to run right a grab me one of those Reidel–let’s make some more money off these wine geek idiots–Champagne decanters. It may happen soon, I buy Meta-millions lottery tickets. I am going to put that sucker in the trunk of my new Aston-Martin, the one I am going to have custom re-configured to haul my new super-custom outfitted RV. (Now I am going to have to tell them to build a special cabinet for this decanter. Man, it is always something.

  6. I’m sticking with a lady’s slipper.

  7. Well, yeh, that’s what I meant, “a lady’s slipper” in the boot of my Aston-Martin, except that slipper would probably turn out to be one Hell of a lot more expensive that Reidel device.

  8. I completely agree with 1WineDude. Two years ago while filming at many Champagne houses large and small, restaurants, and bars, we never saw a flute once — only tulip-shaped glasses. In fact, Richard Geoffroy suggests drinking Dom out of a Bordeaux glass! If you want to do more than just look cool holding a flute, then one is best advised to request a larger glass.

  9. Had the Millenaire from that decanter last night and it was wonderful, though I won’t be decanting any Champagne at home!

  10. At work we use INAO glasses in technical tastings of sparkling wines.

  11. I always use my bordeaux glasses for Champagne, and frankly I do so even for Cava. Right or wrong I like it.

    My wife and I received a lovely set of Lennox crystal flutes with engraved silver coasters for our wedding, and I appreciate the gift and sometimes pour in them, but so much is lost that can be found in the larger glass.

  12. I guess it makes sense. I mean, Champagne is derived from either Chardonnay or Pinot – two varietals that can be appreciated by the nose as well as the tongue. So why not enjoy the aromas once the bubbles have arrived?

  13. watch a great presentation by a heidsieck employee and master of wine at

  14. Well if I do ever include a lyre shaped decanter, I suppose I should also round up some images of Bacchus and a toga or two.

  15. Decanting is over rated. Most of these tests are not blind to truly assess the overall impact. People dont realize how much of an impact knowing that your drinking a “decanted” wine has on your senses. I will start believing that “decanting” improves quality when it is done blind.

  16. Very interesting, for some time I have had a traditional champagne decanter, modelled on a Victorian one, that William Yeoward produces. I am having the same dilemea with this one that I would have with the new Riedel decanter: How do you keep the champagne sufficiently chilled while you drink once it is decantered? By placing the decanter in the fridge, you run the risk of shattering it very easily due to the glass becoming brittle.Niether of them fit easily into an ice bucket. Additionally any efferevescence is considerably reduced by the surface contact with the decanter. Please do not get me wrong I loved aged champagne, however the amount of effervesence present in an older bottle is minimal, so I wish to retain it as much as possible. As you can see I have yet to pluck up the courage to try this method in fear of loosing a good bottle. Comments welcome

  17. I use Richard Juhlin’s Champagne glasses (made by Reijmyre) and they are great!

  18. I drink champagne in white wine glasses since I was introduced to the concept by a friend of mine a few years ago. And I thin it makes a lot of sense. I think Champagne flute glasses always had the main purpose of making the bubbles column appear nicer 🙂


  19. My schnoz isn’t all that big that I can’t sniff from a flute. Anyway, don’t you think Champagne without bubbles is like flame without light? And that any decanter or drinking glass that encourages the dispersion of bubbles is inherently wrong-headed?

  20. […] enjoy Champagne. Fortunately, this way of thinking may be on the way out. Dr. Vino has a post about comparing Champagne served in a flute with Champagne served in a white wine glass, among other topics. It’s refreshing to see this issue raised, and I find hope in the fact […]

  21. I’ve been using “regular” wine glasses to enjoy Champagne and other sparkling wines for some time now. It may look prettier in a flute, but when I drink wine my sense of sight is not the sense that I want to be most engaged. 🙂

  22. Love using just about anything to drink bubbly out of, but the promotion of decanting is that just to cover off for reductive bubblies (egg salad/rubbery notes) that having been showing up on the market lately?

  23. Why not use the Top Ten series Champagne glass by Schott Zwiesel? Their shape allows one to get the full aroma of a great Champagne while enjoying the visual display of the bubbles. I use them to serve both at home and my wine bar, where customers continually rave about these wonderful glasses. Give them a “whirl”.


  24. We always serve champagne from regular glasses and indeed sometimes from fairly large (bordeaux) red wine glasses. The slight loss of bubbles is worth the additional enjoyment from the aroma.

    That said, well-designed flutes have their place – the perfect bubbles for a romantic dinner.

  25. Hmmm – what about using traditional champagne glasses – you know, the one’s that were supposedly modeled after Marie Antoinette’s breasts? My grandmother had a set of these rather shallow, wide glasses and I use them from time to time.

  26. […] Pinon, sparkling Vouvray NV (about $19): I poured a bubbly in almost every class; this one was unanimously liked. How could it not be? It is gorgeous bubbly with delicious aromatics and a balance between acidity and delicate residual sugar. It will be on my Thanksgiving table–and in a white wine glass. […]

  27. […] Pinon, sparkling Vouvray NV (about $19): I poured a bubbly in almost every class; this one was unanimously liked. How could it not be? It is gorgeous bubbly with delicious aromatics and a balance between acidity and delicate residual sugar. It will be on my Thanksgiving table–and in a white wine glass. […]

  28. […] preserve. If you really want to experience the wine, a regular white wine glass is preferable. As Dr. Vino notes, the Champagne house Charles Heidseick recently advocated the use of larger glasses for […]

  29. […] don’t have flutes. Can I still have Champagne? Yes, by all means, use a white wine glass. The bubbles will dissipate sooner but you will likely get better […]

  30. […] of the more traditional flutes, as the widest surface area of the glass enhances the aromatics. (Charles Hiedsieck wants to burst your bubble – decanting Champagne, Dr Vino, 23 October […]

  31. […] are making their bubbly more wine-like with less fizz, perhaps giving sparkling wines some air and serving in wine glasses will be a good way to go. What have you found in your experiments in giving bubbly some air? […]


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