During the 17th century, while the French Benedictine monk Dom Perignon was still trying to figure out a way to rid his wines of the unfashionable bubbles showing up in some of his bottles, the English royalty were embracing this new wine with bubbles. It became so popular, in fact, that in 1663 the English developed a new shape of glass to enhance the aroma of this bubbly wine from the Champagne region of France – and thus, the Champagne Coupe (or Saucer) was born. Notice that this date is a full 100 years before Marie Antoinette or Madame de Pompadour even existed – two of the French aristocrats who’s bust lines are commonly accredited with creating the shape of the glass. Thus dispels the myth that still seems to titillate the schoolboy set. I’ve never understood why a glass shape that small should entrance imaginations. Surely any paramour that flat chested wouldn’t stand a chance creating an image as a legendary lover.
The Champagne Coupe (or Saucer) works well with the sweeter champagnes that were popular in the 17th century, however those that lean towards the drier champagnes prefer the relatively modern Champagne Flute. The Flute provides a smaller surface area thus keeping more of the bubbles in the champagne, the Coupe provides a large surface area allowing the champagne to lose its effervescence more rapidly.
Sweet champagnes came back into fashion in the 1930’s, and the Coupe made a comeback as well. The Stork Club began using it as their signature glass for champagne, and the rest of the US followed suit. It had started to be the glass of choice for many other cocktails well before the onset of the Prohibition laws in the United States. Being a white wine, champagne can also be served in a White Wine glass. There are many that prefer this. The opening is larger than a Flute thus allowing for more of the natural fragrance, yet not as wide as a Coupe so the champagne doesn’t lose its effervescence. In addition, the White Wine glass doesn’t have to be tipped at quite such an uncomfortable angle as is required for a Flute in order to drain the glass of its contents.