From left: ¿ Tryst flute, $10 each, at Crate & Barrel stores. ¿
From left: ¿ Tryst flute, $10 each, at Crate & Barrel stores. ¿ "Float" flute by Molo, $89 for a set of two, available at Apartment Zero, 406 Seventh St. NW. ¿ Stemless flute, $2 each, at Crate & Barrel stores. ¿ Crystal flute by Baccarat, $130 each, available at Neiman Marcus, 5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW and 2255 International Dr., McLean. ¿ "Inside out" champagne glass, $60 for a set of two, available at (By Julia Ewan -- The Washington Post)
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

"A great champagne glass should be elegant in its presentation," says Sebastian Zutant, the sommelier at Proof, who wheels three sparkling wines and six French champagnes nightly in the restaurant's popular trolley of bubbly. "And flutes are used much more now than the old Marie Antoinette coupes of the past."

He's referring to the centuries-old belief that the round, saucer-shaped champagne glass, once de rigueur, was created from a mold of the French queen's breast. They've since been swapped for the slender flute, which retains more of the wine's effervescence.

Much more modern and less anatomical is designer Alissia Melka-Teichroew's "inside out" flute. What appears to be a clear glass tube reveals a traditional hollow-stemmed flute when filled.

Then there's Molo's "float" interpretation. Crafted from the same German borosilicate glass used in laboratory beakers, the shock-resistant vessels can hold both hot and cold beverages.

Crate & Barrel offers a simple twist -- the flute without the stem. Less fussy? Perhaps. But Zutant has a big problem. "I hate those stemless glasses. They're just not functional, because if you're holding the wine, you're warming it up."

Then again, they do have a very practical advantage that the others don't -- they easily fit into the dishwasher.

-- Cory Ohlendorf

© 2007 The Washington Post Company