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Standard flute or coupe no good for Champagne

The glassware commonly used to serve Champagne in restaurants and bars is substandard and inadequate according to Champagne commentator Richard Juhlin.

Richard Juhlin's Champagne flute

Speaking at the official international press launch of his own glassware range in London on Wednesday this week, he said he was inspired to create his own flute because, “It occurred to me how bad all Champagne glasses are”.

Continuing he admitted to dining “in good famous places” in London – and other major capital cities – where he had had to ask for his Champagne to be served in white wine glasses, because they were better than the flutes on offer.

As previously reported by the drinks business, the Richard Juhlin Champagne glass promises to be the perfect shape for every style of Champagne, and was first manufactured in 1999 at Sweden’s Reijmyre Glassworks.

The glasses were sold primarily within Richard Juhlin’s native Sweden, but in December last year Margareta Dale set up a distribution arm for the glassworks, and website for the UK.

The Champagne flute, and the rest of the glass collection, which comprises a red, a white and a pudding wine glass, is now also available for sale at London’s Around Wine.

Speaking of most Champagne flutes on the market, Richard explained, “With a straight, narrow glass, while it’s good for bubbles and keeping the temperature low, it is hopeless on the nose.

“Or, if you use the ‘Hollywood coupe’, there is an ocean of surface for the Champagne to breath, but there is nothing to collect the aromatics.”

Richard then said that the ideal Champagne glass would allow the wine to be swirled to release the aromatics, but with a small opening to collect them.

He also stressed the need for a flute-style shape to keep the temperature low and retain the bubbles, and hence his long, relatively narrow glass design, with a bulbous mid-section, which is wider than both the opening, and the base of the glass.

He also said that his glass, which sells for £55 at Around Wine, is not made from crystal, because he explained, “While it is nicer to hold, taste-wise there is no difference”.

Following the success of the flute, Richard recalled how he was asked by Swedish customers to extend the range to suit white, then red and finally sweet wines.

Richard Juhlin's glassware collection

Referring to the fish bowl shaped red wine glass (pictured, left), he compared it to a Cognac balloon glass, and said it was designed specifically to accentuate aromatics, although he also admitted that the glass was best suited to wines below 14% abv.

Furthermore, he accepted that such a glass was both hard to clean and can be difficult to drink from due to the narrow opening. “Otherwise it is phenomenal,” he said.

Richard also told the drinks business that this was the first time he had done a tasting event using his glassware outside Sweden.

Explaining the time lag of almost 13 years between manufacturing and promoting the glasses outside his native country, Richard said, “I just wanted to make the perfect glasses and haven’t put the effort into marketing them.”

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