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#FoodChem Carnival: A bit o’ science on your Thanksgiving tippling

In my family, the first thing that happens when you walk in the door to my Aunt Kim’s house on Thanksgiving is you find yourself on the receiving end of the world’s best hug. The second thing that happens is a glass of champagne is thrust into your hand. So when I sat down to consider how to contribute to this week’s Thanksgiving-inspired #foodchem carnival, the science of champagne seemed a natural fit. And since some might consider champagne medicinal, it can squeeze by at the Haystack, right?

Anything you want to know about the science of champagne can pretty much be learned from Gérard Liger-Belair, a professor of chemical physics at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. Liger-Belair has possibly the best job in existence: he spends his days trying to decipher the chemistry and physics of champagne. We covered some of his tips for champagne serving here (most practical for every day imbibing: don’t use soap to wash your flutes. Instead, rinse with hot water and wipe with a towel. The cellulose fibers left behind from your swipe promote effervescence.).

More recently, Liger-Belair has come out with evidence that size does matter—bottle size, that is. The smaller the bottle, the lower the concentration of dissolved CO2 in each successive glass poured. The message here: forget those wimpy splits, and go magnum. But if you do have a smaller bottle (okay, or a normal 750mL bottle), you can maintain some of the effervescence by keeping nice and frosty. Meanwhile, if you want to enjoy that nose-tickling fizz at the top of your glass for longer, this study suggests you should pick a flute over a coupe. This family prefers a flute, anyway. Less spillage.

So there you have it. Happy Turkey Day, all!

For more on the science of champagne, check out:

What’s that Stuff: Champagne:

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/whatstuff/stuff/8201champagne.html

Unraveling different chemical fingerprints between a champagne wine and its aerosols:

http://www.pnas.org/content/106/39/16545

Uncorked: The Science of Champagne:

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7811.html

1 Comment

  • Dec 31st 201214:12
    by dan @ Free Chemistry Online

    Thanks Lisa for introducing Gérard Liger-Belair to me.

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