During this holiday season you don't need a special occasion to drink champagne. You can do it everyday, providing you use moderation and common sense. But did you know that champagne taste better when it has tiny bubbles? This is the result of a very serious study published by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and more recently found by the Discovery Channel.
Before going further, here is what looks like an extreme closeup view of a champagne bubble (Credit: Gérard Liger-Belair).
Now, let's go for the technical explanations.
As New Year's Eve approaches and you prepare to pop open that champagne bottle, keep your fingers crossed for small bubbles ... and lots of them.
That long train of tiny, rising bubbles is the key to the drink's flavor and aroma, scientists say. And the smaller the bubbles, the better, according to the people who should know, researchers in the Champagne region of France, home to the famous vineyards that gave birth to the bubbly wine.
"Our ultimate goal is to create smaller bubbles in champagne wines," says Gérard Liger-Belair, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne in France, whose study on the subject will be published this week in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
And why do you think champagne taste better when carrying smaller bubbles? The answer is pretty obvious. More bubbles are releasing the champagne's flavor and aroma into your mouth.
And when can you expect to go to your wine merchant and ask for a champagne with guaranteed small bubbles? Not anytime soon. The researchers know it tastes better, but they really don't know how to produce such a wine.
And if you want to read the technical paper, providing you're an ACS member, you can search the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry for the Volume 51, Issue 26. The title of the paper is "Diffusion Coefficient of CO2 Molecules as Determined by 13C NMR in Various Carbonated Beverages," slightly less sexy that my own title, if you believe me.
In the mean time, enjoy your glass!
Sources: American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert!, December 15, 2003; Discovery Channel, December 29, 2003