Kim’s birthday was this week, and she got paid for a big V.O. job she did. While I was shopping for her gift, I stopped in Williams and Sonoma to browse. They had a whole section of Reidel stemware, which I love, and we were planning on opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate Kim’s hard work and good fortune. It was a bottle of Veuve Cliquot that a guest brought her when she got her first agent. We also enjoy a good bottle of champagne to celebrate New Year’s. Last year we got Krug. We’ve been using flutes, but I’ve been wanting something better. On the shelf at Williams and Sonoma were something I haven’t seen in a long time: champagne coupes. You know, the big-bowled, sloshy, traditional champagne glasses your parents used to have. I was smitten. I came home to do some research.
After all these were Reidels, labeled “grape specific”, but when I interneted champagne Reidels the web directed me to something more in a tulip. It did say that they were determined to do away with flutes as being insufficient for fine champagne, but most advised using chardonnay glasses. Now, when I want champagne, I want a special glass, not a wine glass, no matter if it’s crystal or not. The glasses I was eyeballing seemed to be designed for martinis(?) or desserts. The reviews said coupes let the bubbles out too quick, that they were too hard to drink out of, that they were too big for a good nose, that sort of stuff.
But then there were the romantic stories: of coupes being designed around the shape of Marie Antoinetre’s breasts, the photos of Sophia Loren pouring champagne into them, the images of the Roaring Twenties. Clearly there is a reason for coupes. So, dammit, I went and bought them anyway. On Tuesday morning, we cracked the champagne and raised a toast . . .
And I love them. I am a sucker for the finer things in life, especially where food and drink (and my wife) are concerned, and these glasses are a thing of beauty. I don’t care what anyone says, they are THE way to drink champagne, and I’m glad they’re back. Everything old becomes new again, and I think I know why, where the coupe is concerned. Here is my theory:
Flutes became popular because they look classy. At a restaurant, the table next to you can look over, see champagne flutes, and know you’re celebrating. The bubbles rise up in long strings, they’re a dream to clink together in toast, and they’re easy to walk around a party with. If the flavor suffers somewhat, who cares? To me, that is a metaphor for society in the new milleneum. It’s not how anything tastes, or the substance it has: it’s all about how it looks to other people. How many likes will your Instagram get?
Well, I have a problem with that. I don’t give much of a shit what other people think about anything, and man, when I dipped my nose down into that coupe, guess what I saw? A golden swimming pool of delicious grapes, bubbles rising up ro meet ME. No Snapchat necessary. It was like stepping off the tile into a hot tub of deliciousness.
Give me the experience of the coupe over the flute any day. It may not taste quite as good as a wine glass, but it tasted pretty good. The bubbles might come out quicker, but I still finished my glass before they were gone. It might be easier to spill over the edge, but, hey, sometimes in life you should spill a little champagne.
It’s all about me and my beautiful wife enjoying ourselves. It’s about our experience, our moment, our love. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Give me a coupe for my champagne, any day of the week, and hopefully we’ll be celebrating every day of the year!