Flute: Is it the right glass for Prosecco? And what about Prosecco col fondo?

calice prosecco colfondo

Despite the growing interest in wine and wine education, many still serve Prosecco in a flute.

The flute.

If you came of age in the 1980s or 1990s in America or Italy, you probably first tasted sparkling wine in a flute — the elongated, narrow wine glass with a stem. Many Americans (and Italians for that matter) don’t even remember that sparkling wine, mostly Champagne and Moscato d’Asti, were served in coupes in our parents’ day.

What’s a coupe? It’s a wide-brimmed shallow wine glass with a stem. Today, you still sometimes see desserts served in coupes (especially chilled desserts). But it’s literally been decades since people stopped serving sparkling wine in coupes.

It was during the booming 1980s and 1990s that the flute came into vogue. No one really knows why for sure. Some have speculated that the glass shape came into fashion because a certain glassworks company decided to create a marketing campaign around the glass type. In recent years, wine glass companies have launched scores and scores of new glass shapes, seemingly to accommodate every grape, appellation, and wine style. It’s possible that the popular glass for sparkling wine was created to appeal to the “skinny,” waist-line conscious set of the post-1970s generation. But we digress!

In the land of Prosecco where we live, the traditional glass for Prosecco is known as the goto. Just like the one in the photograph above. It’s what we call in English a tumbler or bistro glass. That’s what Prosecco is typically served in, even today, when you visit the old-line osterias (taverns). And in Italy in general, it’s more likely than not that sparkling wine like Prosecco will be served to you in a white wine glass.

And that’s a good thing!

When poured in a narrow vessel, the tighter diameter of the aperture impedes the aroma of the wine (because it doesn’t allow the wine to breathe properly).

At the Ferraros’ house, they always serve their wines in Bordeaux glasses (even bigger and wider than white wine glasses) because they like the aeration. And most wine professionals do the same today.

Of course, the Ferraros also appreciate the old-school restaurants and taverns where it is still served in the goto.

Leave a Reply