champagne iii – researching the (shape of) legends

while researching these legends, i also dizzily came across the name of lee miller. miller was a model, photographer and the muse-lover of man ray (many of his most famous nude images are of lee miller)! much has been said about lee miller’s breasts in the art world, but i never thought i’d see her name in association with champagne coupes. nonetheless, tony perrottet of tony’s secret cabinet–a blog of historical anecdotes from his forthcoming book napoleon’s privates: 2500 years of history unzipped–writes, “miller was widely regarded to have the most beautiful breasts in the city [paris] – thus, it’s said, inspiring a french glass company to model a new coupe on her form.” this is the coupe form that was all the rage in the 1930s and the one uber-designer marc jacobs allegedly copied for his winter 2007 glassware collection (as seen in the food and wine link).

well before the problem of the solidity of the glass was completely determined, and the opaque bottle in the shape of a pear had definitively been chosen to preserve this precious wine, the amateurs already knew the best manner to serve it and to taste it. the height of its refinement consisted, in fact, of pouring it from very high above to allow it to foam. if the goblet (which, according to the legend, was molded on madame de pompadour’s breast, a favorite of king louis the fifteenth) had been used for a long time, it was soon realized that it presented two defects in the tasting of champagne: the quick loss of bubbles owing to its too big opening, and the almost total absence of a bouquet. therefore, the flute was soon the preferred beverage recipient. today the connoisseurs still give preference to the flute, which they recommend to fill only at 60% in order to allow a space and thus preserve all the aromas. a true connoisseur knows also that to maintain its freshness, 8 to 10 degrees celsius, and to enjoy the spectacle of the bubbles that climb back up to the surface as if by magic with a delicate murmur, the flute must be held only by the stem.

madame de pompadour not say: “champagne makes woman more beautiful and… gives spirit to the men!”