Fizz Flavours

Fizz Flavours: Its all in the bubbles you know!! In a report published this week European experts discovered that there are 30 times more flavour enhancing chemicals to be found in Champagne bubbles than in the wine itself. So in fact Champagne bubbles not only tickle your nose but also your palate – transporting heaps of sensory information before your tongue even touches that first drop of Champagne.

Commenting on the research live on BBC news last night Dr Jamie Goode, founder of wineanorak.com, said: “In the past, we thought that the carbon dioxide in the bubbles just gave the wine an acidic bite and a little tingle on the tongue, but this study shows that it is much more than this.” According to Dr Goode the research may also explain why Champagnes and sparkling wines made in the traditional method taste so nice and why using fluted glasses for sparkling wine and champagne really is more than simply a matter of etiquette.

The study of 5 high quality Champagnes and sparkling wines by Professor Gerard Liger-Belair of the University of Reims (famous author of “The Science of Champagne”) and his colleague Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin, of the Institute for Ecological Chemistry and Molecular BioGeochemistry in Neuherberg is presented in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). You can listen to Gerard talk in more detail about Champagne bubbles on BBC radio Today Show.

These new findings have already been criticised by Australian expert Dr Leigh Francis, who says while the paper is interesting the methodology is flawed. To read more about this scintillating topic and have your say follow this link to the ABC Science article.

In order to discover the precise chemicals in the bubbles which give the best flavours and tastes in the Champagne, the next stage of Liger-Belair’s research will compare the raw scientific data with the subjective reactions of expert wine tasters. The ultimate objective is to create champagne and sparkling wines that taste even
better…

Footnote: The enterprising PR rep for Lanson (Lucy Richardson) who had the foresight to supply a few bottles for Dr Goode’s TV demo(even though regulations prevented Auntie from showing the Champagne’s label on live TV or allowing the presenters to taste any) deserves a shout out for being so pro-active and Dr G’s innocent comment about stemware will no doubt please the folk at Riedel…

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