Video explains chemistry of champagne

Dec. 31, 2011 at 1:27 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The American Chemical Society has posted video online that explains the chemistry of champagne and why the tiny bubbles boost taste, U.S. researchers say.

The video, at, explains that champagne, unlike other wines, undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle to trap carbon dioxide gas, which dissolves into the wine and forms the familiar bubbles in the bubbly.

More than 600 chemical compounds join carbon dioxide in champagne, each lending its own unique quality to the aroma and flavor of the alcoholic beverage, Chemical Society members say.

But even with all of that flavor, champagne would be just another white wine without the tiny bubbles. As the bubbles ascend the length of a glass in tiny trains, they drag along molecules of those 600 flavor and aroma substances, which literally explode out of the surface as the bubbles burst, tickling the nose and stimulating the senses, the video says.

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found the best way to pour a glass of bubbly and maximize the sensory experience is on an angle, because the champagne can retain as much as twice the amount of carbon dioxide as compared with pouring down the middle of the glass.

The additional bubbles carry out more of the hundreds of flavor compounds in champagne, the study says.

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