12 August 2010
French boffins find optimum way to pour champagne
by Kate Melville
Scientists from the University of Reims in France may have finally settled a long-standing disagreement over the best way to pour a glass of champagne, reporting that pouring the bubbly in an angled, down-the-side way is best for preserving taste and fizz.
Researcher Gérard Liger-Belair and his colleagues, writing about their work in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, also report the first scientific evidence for the importance of chilling champagne before serving to enhance its taste.
Liger-Belair explains that tiny bubbles are the essence of fine champagnes and past studies indicated that the bubbles - formed during the release of large amounts of dissolved carbon dioxide gas - help transfer the taste, aroma, and mouth-feel of champagne. Scientists have long suspected that the act of pouring a glass of bubbly could have a big impact on gas levels in champagne and its quality but until now no scientific study on the subject had been carried out.
The researchers studied carbon dioxide loss in champagne using two different pouring methods. One involved pouring champagne straight down the middle of a glass. The other involved pouring champagne down the side of an angled glass. They found that pouring champagne down the side preserved up to twice as much carbon dioxide in the champagne than pouring down the middle. Likely, they speculate, because the angled method was gentler. Liger-Belair's team also showed that cooler champagne temperatures (39 degrees Fahrenheit, ideally) help reduce carbon dioxide loss.
Source: University of Reims