Cheap Bubbly Or Expensive Sparkling Wine? Look To The Bubbles For Clues


Sparkling-wine lovers sometimes point to the glittering streams of tiny bubbles as an important attribute. Why? Well, tiny bubbles are a sign of age, explains French chemist Gerard Liger-Belair, author of Uncorked: The Science of Champagne.

“Old champagnes always show tiny bubbles, mainly because they have aged several years and lost a significant amount of dissolved CO2, the gas that produces the bubbles,” says Liger-Belair.

And what else can the bubbles tell you? Well, if the streams of bubbles remain down to the last sip, this can be a clue as to how it was produced.

Did you know that in some cheap sparkling wines the CO2 is sometimes injected into the wine, similar to the process used to create carbonated soft drinks?

Here’s one tip if you want to preserve the effervescence in every flute of bubbly: Pay attention to how you pour.

The traditional way is to pour Champagne straight down into the flute. But Liger-Belair says you may be losing thousands of bubbles this way.

In a study published in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, Liger-Belair and some colleagues found that pouring champagne down the side of a tilted glass, similar to the way beer is poured, preserved about 25 percent more carbon dioxide.

If you want more bubbles to tickle the tongue and transfer those wonderful aromas to your nose try the tilted pour.

posted by Tiffany Haslacker