Champagne's Bubbles and Glasses Explained

Not being a sommelier, nor a master of wine, nor a gourmand, nor a bon viveur but reckoning to be a pretty good listener and recounter of tales  I was delighted to have the opportunity to squirrel away a little gem from a lady vigneron(ette?) about the source of bubbles in Champagne glasses.

Carbon Dioxide gas evolves during the secondary fermentation process and is dissolved and then held within the liquid as long as it remains pressurised. Once the cork is released the gas comes out of the solution in the form of small bubbles. Why does it not all happen at once, like a balloon going pop, with one giant bubble escaping out of the liquid?

 

By all accounts nature needs a catalyst to make things happen.  Imperfections on the side of the glass or microscopic pieces of fibre from tea towels play the part of catalysts and are the places where the bubbles form and then rise upward. The bubbles increase in size as they rise as the pressure lowers and as more gas evaporates into the bubble.  

The effect of cleaning your Champagne glasses in a dishwasher is to cover the inside of the glass with a homogenous film of rinse aid which is perfectly smooth with no imperfections. Next time you pour a glass of your favourite cheer – no bubbles.  By all accounts those restaurants, bars and hotels in the know, ensure that all glasses are given a buff up using a specialist glass cloth - thus ensuring a residue of fibre for the bubble sources. There are even some establishments who will take a sharp implement and gently scratch the inside of a dishwasher cleaned glass to endeavour to create one favoured spot for bubble formation and thus impress with a stream of bubbles rising from just one location. 

 

Next time you see it you can you can either tell everyone and be a boring old got or you can just relax and enjoy it.

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Comments: 1
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