Friday, September 10, 2010


Solubility of carbon dioxide in water phase is low at ambient temperatures and pressure conditions and the same can be increased by lowering the temperature of water and at higher pressures. Industry producing aerated water products use the above principle in manufacturing hundreds of beverage products highly popular amongst the consumers. The two global soft drink giants in the beverage sector Coke and Pepsi share between them more than 90% of the market for such beverages. Champagne, the legendary Sparkling Wine originating from the Champagne region of France which comes under the category of aerated alcoholic beverages is derived from grapes by yeast fermentation and is cherished for its association with luxury, power and success. It is made from special varieties of grapes like Chardonnay, Pinot nois and Pinot meunier in France and preparation process is a guarded secret, each manufacturer claiming superiority for his process over the other. Originally used during special occasion of anointment of Kings in France, Champagne is to day a common symbol of victory and festivities.

"Pouring champagne down the side of the glass might stop the bubbles overflowing too quickly but is the best way? According to French scientists, it is, preserving both its taste and fizz — and the bubbly should be well chilled. Researchers from the University of Reims in France set out to settle a long-standing disagreement over the best way to pour a glass of champagne by measuring the losses of dissolved carbon dioxide gas during champagne serving. Past studies have 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. But Gerard Liger-Belair and his University of Reims colleagues set out to see how the act of pouring a glass of bubbly could impact the gas levels in champagne and its quality. The scientists studied carbon dioxide loss in champagne using two different pouring methods. One involved pouring champagne straight down the middle of a glass while the other involved pouring champagne down the side of an angled glass. "Pouring champagne down the side preserved up to twice as much carbon dioxide in champagne than pouring down the middle, probably because the angled method was gentler," they wrote in their study that was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. They also showed that cooler champagne temperatures — ideally, 39 degrees Fahrenheit —helped reduce carbon dioxide loss. "Low temperatures prolong the drink's chill and help it to retain its effervescence during the pouring process," they said.

The preparation of Champagne involves in situ generation of CO2 due to secondary fermentation after bottling of the wine and unlike external infusion of CO2 in soft drinks, it has the special characteristics of enhancing the natural aroma of wine. The above findings that pouring champagne on the side of the class as a better way of enjoying the drink makes eminent sense considering that Champagne is "aged" for at least 1.5 years, some times for a number of years to develop rich flavor and the volatile aromatic organic chemicals tend to be on the top of the bottle. The aroma tends to escape as soon as the bottle is open along with CO2 and slow pouring with out too much disturbance in the fluid system will enable slow and sustained release of the flavor. One wonders whether same "fad" holds good for fizz drinks also, most of which have distinctive aromatic flavor except plain soda and probably drinking directly from the container immediately after opening may be more enjoyable.


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