WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2010 — Just in time for New Year’s Eve, and the arrival of the International Year of Chemistry, a study may settle that long-standing disagreement over the best way to pour a glass of champagne: Scientists in France are reporting that pouring bubbly in an angled, down-the-side way is best for preserving its taste and fizz.
The study also reports the first scientific evidence confirming the importance of chilling champagne before serving to enhance its taste. They reported in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
GÉrard Liger-Belair and colleagues note that tiny bubbles are the essence of fine champagnes and sparkling wines. Past studies indicate 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. Scientists long have suspected that the act of pouring a glass of bubbly could have a big impact on gas levels in champagne and its quality. Until now, however, no scientific study had been done.
The scientists studied carbon dioxide loss in champagne using two different pouring methods. One involved pouring champagne straight down the middle of a glass. The other involved pouring champagne down the side of an angled glass.
They found that 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 also showed that cooler champagne temperatures (ideally, 39 degrees Fahrenheit) help reduce carbon dioxide loss.