They are the dream gift of the season — lovely to look at, delightful to hold, heaven to use. In their nearly 300-year history, Champagne glasses have seen the design of choice run from frosted and tinted to colored and decorated — all of which hide Champagne’s bubbles. At various times, the shape of favor was the coupe — the wide V-shaped saucer style said to have been modeled on Marie Antoinette’s breast. Yet, while it may have been a beguiling shape for the lady, it is a terrible shape for Champagne. Its large open surface allows bubbles that took years to develop to disappear in minutes.
For the quintessential Champagne glass, consider the clear, crystal, straight-sided or tulip-shaped flute. Slender, graceful, long-stemmed, these elongated glasses complement the world’s most glamorous wine by concentrating the bubbles in a small area, sending them up in a straight line to the glass’s narrow opening, focusing the bouquet and the bubbles and releasing the full experience of Champagne.
In the holiday spirit, we’ve selected a few of our favorite Champagne glasses as gifts to give — and to receive.
Baccarat’s Massena glass, an exquisite, heavy lead crystal glass with a design cut into the crystal from base to stem to the lower part of the bowl, has an elegant tulip shape and sells for $180.
In contrast, Baccarat’s classic Dom Perignon glass is feather-light. Tall, perfectly balanced and refined, it is a quiet beauty whose excellence is whispered, not shouted. It is available for $125.
A third Baccarat charmer is St. Remy, also light in the hand, also well-balanced, also beautiful; available for $120.
Orrefors-Kosta Boda’s Intermezzo Blue Flute is a strikingly handsome Champagne flute with a long, dark blue teardrop in its graceful stem. It sells for $50.
Nambé has a Champagne tulip with a twist. Called Chill, it is a slender crystal flute on a thick, twisted crystal stem that fits the contours of the hand perfectly. The Chill glasses are sold in pairs, $100 for both.
Among the other moderately priced and notably beautiful glasses are Marquis by Waterford ($49); the silver-rimmed Solitaire by Lenox ($30); Vows by Ralph Lauren ($25); and Mikasa’s platinum-rimmed, swirl-cut Flame D’Amore ($39).
All are worthy of a Champagne toast at any time of year.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.