Attractive bubbles in a champagne glass are part of the ritual of life, from toasts to Sunday lunch.
However, they are achieved through a process that you may not know.
By genius cheating, their manufacturers are able to keep the gas inside the bottle, despite having to open them in half the production process.
If you visit the Champagne region (in the northeast of France), you may be surprised to hear that the champagne producer says they add a mixture of sugar and yeast to this wine.
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For beginners, this would sound like what some people are doing on Christmas with a bad red wine: add sugar, a little water, spices, put it on the stove, maybe add some kirsch, to make a cheap drink into a delicacy.
But a moderate addition of sugar and yeast to white wine part bit in elaboration any champagne.
While microorganisms digest sugar, they release carbon dioxide that dissolves into wine.
They are the source of attractive bubbles.
More sugar, more bubbles
"There is a direct correlation between the number and size of the bubble and the amount of added sugar," says Gerard Liger-Belair, a physicist at the University of Reims, France, who studies bubbles in champagne.
The more sugar, it will be more bubbles and the greater their size, while the energy contained in the yeast will cause the champagne to release more gas.
Strictly speaking, there is really no bubble in the wine until you open it.
This action reduces pressure and allows gas molecules to suddenly unite and form more bubbles, as champagne does contact with irregularities and dust spots inside the glass.
The yeast in the wine, of course, fades quickly as it passes into the container.
But the small remains of this compound begin to be solved earlier because the contents of the champagne bottle remain untouched because the yeast is added until it reaches the customer.
Remove the waste and place the plug
In order to eliminate the remains of yeast – called lees – from wine, champagne manufacturers turn bottles upside down and store them on shelves. Then they rotate lightly every time.
Lees goes to the bottle's neck and becomes sediment.
What's going on is a brilliant part of the applied chemistry that is said to have been invented in 1884.
Necklaces bottles are immersed in a very cold bathroomsalt water, at temperatures below 0 ° C.
This water is stored in liquid form, as salt reduces the temperature of the freezing solution. In this way, the waste in the bottle neck cracks.
Then, when the lid is removed, the pressure of the gas in the wine is ejected by the layer of residue.
At this golden time, the manufacturer adds a little more sugar and a little champagne, both to fill the bottle, and to convert the content to a specific taste.
After this addition, known as the "dose", the float is quickly added.
All the carbon dioxide that the wine will have will already be there, says Liger-Belair. The "dose" is added before the taste.
Intriguing and complex tastes
You may be surprised to learn that after the reaction of the Maillard reaction, something similar to what happens when bread is toasted, fried with bacon or onions.
"In Maillard's champagne reaction, it creates the taste of cookies or brioche, when this wine goes through a long aging process, "writes Peter Liem in his book under the title Champagne.
This reaction between proteins, sugars and other components, can produce very intriguing aromas and complex.
Liem says that most champagne improves for one year after sludge removal, although they are usually offered for sale as soon as they finish.
Liger-Belair, for its part, is currently investigating how long the aging of champagne can stand without the risk of losing bubbles.
The best champagnes are those that are left to stand for several decades.
However, as the cork does not close a solid bottle, more that vait to drink wine the greater the risk It does not have bubbles.
"We do a lot with mathematical models" to improve floating and dynamic environment inside the bottle, says the physicist.
In one bottle of champagne there are five liters of carbon dioxide.
The next time you open one of these and enjoy the balloon spectacle, remember a delicate combination of biology and chemistry It gave them life
This text was originally published in English. If you like, you can read it here.
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