Last night's Mad Men featured Don drinking a Budweiser and later, an office party with champagne. While it's great that Bud was around in 1963, I'm not sure it's changed all that much, so let's focus on the champagne and, in particular, the glasses.
Peggy: "This is good champagne."
Don: "I don't think so."
Maybe Don likes small-grower champagnes (or he's just irritated with management). As far as I can tell (by pausing and peering intently at my television), the British management of Sterling Cooper brought in a case or so of orange label Veuve Clicquot, which currently retails for around $75-$110.
What I really want to talk about isn't the expensive champagne, but the glasses from which they drank it. More often than not, we drink our champagne today out of flutes, but in Mad Men, they're using coupes throughout the doomed office party.
The champagne coupe has a wonderful legend associated with it, but unfortunately, it's just a legend. It's said that the shape of the glass was molded on the breast of Marie Antoinette, or occasionally, Madame de Pompadour. While romantic, it remains just a myth.
The coupe was designed in 17th century England and came into fashion again in the 1930s. However, it's not a recommended glass for the drink – it simply looks pretty. The broad surface means the bubbles disappear faster. The preferred glass is a champagne flute, a tall skinny glass that is designed to increase the flow of bubbles to the top and that helps concentrate the aromas of the wine.
It really does make a difference. About a year ago, Kevin and I experimented with several types of glassware, including an old champagne coupe. Aside from being hard to handle (the champagne sloshed out of the glass), the champagne went "flat" a lot faster in the coupe than in the flute.
When it comes down to it, I'll drink champagne taking swigs from the bottle, if need be. But I'm often reminded that glassware really is something to consider when tasting wine.
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