Champagne Science & 10,000 hits

10,000 hits on pullthecork makes it the most read blog on my computer and the most talked about blog wherever I go.  Time to celebrate with some Champagne writing.

This was posted in the online Mercury last week.  I think it deserves a repost since many of you, like me,  didn’t renew your subscription to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.  It’s these kinds of studies keep that keep chemistry relevant. Oh and thanks to the staff at the Guelph Mercury for putting my blog button beside the Guelph Roadwork Update and under the Local Singles button. Nothing soothes like a Wine Blog when you’re mad at the City and can’t get a date.

http://news.guelphmercury.com/Life/article/676068

August 15, 2010

PARIS – French scientists say they have settled a question that has long divided champagne lovers: How best to pour the bubbly?

At an angle, not straight down.

The scientists at the University of Reims say pouring bubbly at a slant, as you would a beer, preserves more of the tiny gas bubbles that improve the drink’s flavour and aromas.

The study — On the Losses of Dissolved CO2 During Champagne Serving — appears this week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a U.S. publication.

The researchers say they looked at two ways of pouring champagne: the “traditional” method, with the liquid poured vertically to hit the bottom of the champagne flute; and the “beer-like way,” executed by tilting the glass and gently sliding in the champagne.

They say the study matters not just to champagne drinkers but to glass-makers. They note that the industry is researching a “new generation” of champagne glasses specially designed to control the release of carbon dioxide, the gas that gives the drink its sparkle.

The researchers used bottles of 2008 vintage from Coopérative Nogent l’Abbesse to examine how the two methods of pouring affected the release of CO2.

They said they used two ways to measure the amount of CO2 in each pouring, and tested bottles chilled to varying degrees. The result: champagne poured like beer retained more gas than champagne poured to create a head of “mousse,” or foam.

And the colder the bottle, the less gas was lost, the study found.

It did not say whether professional tasters were called in to confirm their findings, and none of the six researchers could be reached for comment. But their expertise appears formidable: they’re French, their university is in the heart of Champagne country, and lead researcher Gérard Liger-Belair, a professor of chemical physics, is the author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne, a book that appeared in the U.S. in 2004 to admiring reviews.

The study will be presented this month in Boston at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.

The verdict in favour of sideways pouring came as no surprise to Guillaume Ranvier, the head of food and beverage at the Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine, whose Café M & Champagne Bar offers around 30 different kinds of champagne from about $100 to $320 a bottle.

“But of course, when I pour a glass of champagne I pour it like that,” he said.

Ranvier said the establishment’s bartender always pours champagne into a tilted glass to keep the bubbles in. Informed that top French researchers had delivered scientific confirmation, Ranvier laughed and said: “Great. I’ll tell the barman when he gets back from vacation.”

The study did not say exactly how many bottles of champagne were uncorked in the interests of science, but the researchers did thank the Pommery champagne house “for regularly supplying us with various champagne samples.”

The Associated Press

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About Travis Oke

Wine writer / consultant View all posts by Travis Oke

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