Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Champagne Bubbles make my head hurt!

One of the favorite things in my life is a great bottle of Champagne shared with friends. There always seems to be a pause for reflection on our bubbly fare. How do these bubbles compare to bubbles past? I always look at the bubbles in the glass out of curiousity. Guess I've always felt that the more bubbles, the better.

I've recently read some articles on Champagne bubbles that just made my head spin. Some scientists out of France have been busy studying bubble generation, expansion, frequency and drag coefficient. The documentation was dizzying in its' calculations. I really don't want to get that scientific in my evaluation of Champagne. I just want to know ... why so many bubbles?

There's a certain amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that each bottle contains due to the second fermentation process of yeast in the bottle. Pressure builds in there and we're all thankful for that thicker Champagne bottle. Can't imagine how many times that cork has ping-ponged through the kitchen as we underestimated the power of the force. Thus I'm still an apprentice.

Even if you have the Carbon Dioxide, you still need something else to help release it. Gas cavities. I won't go into the joke on that one, but one article talked about how the nucleation of bubbles in Champagne could be used as a model for bubble nucleation within the body. Still won't go there. OK ... Focus ... the report of gas cavities in a Champagne glass come from cellulose fibres coming from the surrounding air or remaining from the wiping process. Basically, you want more bubbles, wipe your glass with a cloth and store right side up.

I still have a lot of questions about Champagne bubbles, but don't have the energy right now to find out why my Spanish Cava has much less bubbles than my Charles Heidsieck. I could rub my glass in hopes of a genie popping out and I still won't get the same amount of bubbles in my Cava.

I'm sure the answer is out there somewhere. I see a quest emerging!!


Blogger Connie said...

I would like to volunteer my assistance in your search for an answer because I, too, have been pondering the bubble question. And since my Frankie is of the Less Is More school of champagne bubbles, I'm thinking he needs a good Cava.
Happy Experimenting!

Sun Oct 29, 10:59:00 PM CST  
Blogger Dr. Dave said...

Well Saucy One, I would suggest that your Cava used a less sugary grape for fermentation. The bubbles are carbon dioxide gas which is a byproduct of the fermentation of sugar into alcohol (a VERY good reaction!). Thus, more sugar, more carbon dioxide, more bubbles.

As for bubbles, champagne is fermented in the bottle (as I remember). The carbon dioxide gas builds up the pressure inside the bottle and supersaturates into the champagne solution. As the pressure gets released by cork removal (David Borzo is a champion!), the carbon dioxide comes out of solution as bubbles, and, yes, bubbles start at nucleation sites like fibers or dirt.

Don't you just love being related to a Chemical Engineer?

Fri Nov 03, 12:38:00 PM CST  

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