How We Serve Champagne At John Howie Steak And Seastar Restaurant And Raw Bar


Champagne is special.

The glass you drink it out of is special too.

Most people associate Champagne glasses with the flute, but here’s the thing: that is not your only choice.

The experience of Champagne can be remarkably altered by the shape of the glass you are using. So you always want to `pair’ a wonderful champagne with a glass that reveals its biggest and best qualities.

At John Howie Steak and Seastar Restaurant And Raw Bar, we don’t use the flute.

But we’ll get into that a little bit later.

First, let’s talk about the variety of glasses that Champagne can be enjoyed out of:


And so, back to what we serve Champagnes in.

For our award-winning wine director, Erik Liedholm, wine appreciation is not merely a profession, but a way of life, and he presents Champagnes in glasses that are interestingly different.

“We look at wine glasses as a vehicle to amplify all of a wine’s qualities,” he says. “At both Seastar and John Howie Steak we use a glass produced by Riedel that is sort of a “hybrid” glass for sparkling wine. We wanted the spirit of the flute with the diameter expanse of a still wine glass. As is the case with other wines, the best way to capture all of the aromas and flavors is through exposure to air [oxygen]. The narrow diameter of flutes limits the oxygen that can reach the surface of the liquid, and therefore there is a diminishing of its flavor. Alas, we still have available a traditional flute for those who prefer them.”

“We don’t judge,” he continues, because Erik is freewheeling in his acceptance of the fact that enjoyment is, at the end of the day, a palate-specific and a subjective idea.

“Regardless of which glass you choose, serve your Champagne cold,” he finally advises. “Colder liquids trap gases better than warm ones, so there will be more CO2 bubbles in colder Champagne. At temperatures too low, some of the flavor will be lost. Champagne should be drunk at 50°F (10°C), about five degrees warmer than the usual refrigerator temperature. Letting it sit out in room temperature for about five minutes should warm it just enough…if the bottle lasts that long.”