Why you should never drink champagne out of flutes

Olivier Krug​, sixth-generation scion of the House of Krug, has a message for you.

When you make The Best Champagne in the World, you don't drink it out of a goddamn flute.

And you sure as hell don't float a strawberry on top.

A serious mission

Monsieur Krug spends most of the year tasting-testing his family's liquid legacy, and the other half on what you might term 'humanitarian pursuits'.

That is: he teaches savages in the antipodes how to drink champagne properly. He takes this mission very seriously.

"You don't drink Krug cold, from a flute, with a strawberry," he tells me over lunch at Kisumé in Melbourne.

"Flutes are crap. It's like going to the opera in earplugs".

A bigger serve

The glassware a wine is served in has a impact on how it tastes, it turns out.

Monsieur Krug drank out of a , which looks something like a wine glass but smaller and with a tighter opening. Failing that, go with a wine glass – much better than a flute.


Smell plays a role in how we perceive taste, according to at least one study. Wine glasses with wide openings allow you to get a full whiff of a wine's aroma as you flick it down your gullet.

Tiny flutes that run straight up and down don't do that, and a significant portion of the champagne's flavour is lost.

There are some advantages, however. Flutes theoretically keep champagne bubbly for longer by reducing the amount of air that comes into contact with the wine. So if you're drinking a cheap champagne, with bubbles you'd like to preserve and flavour you don't want to study too closely, maybe flutes aren't a bad option.

One does not simply drink cheap champagne

I put my theory to monsieur Krug, who regards me over a glass of his finest, eyebrow arched.

"I," he sniffs, "do not drink cheap champagne".

So, you've tossed those flutes you got as a wedding-present in the bin, and you've eaten your strawberries. Monsieur Krug has one more important consideration for you: temperature.

No chill

51698009 has written before about the bad habit Aussies having of "anaesthetising" their wines by serving them far too cold.

Krug is designed to be drunk at 10 degrees. That's still cool, but warm enough for the flavours to fully express themselves.

Unfortunately, the hard-working staff at Kisumé have not quite nailed the temperatures today.

"This is slightly too cold for me, about 7 degrees or 8," monsiuer Krug says after his first sip.

It's about pleasure

I have one more question for le monsieur. Krug's Grand Cuvèe costs hundreds of dollars a bottle. Is it worth it for a non-champagne expert? Can we really taste the difference between a $30 and a $300 bottle?

"It's about pleasure," he replies. "We have a champagne that is so expressive that you don't even need to be an expert to get it."

"Of course, if you serve it in a champagne flute, any champagne is too expensive."