I’m a big fan of champagne (who isn’t) and use the most minor of occasions as a reason to open a bottle. A friend told me years ago that you can tell the quality of champagne by how many, and how small the bubble train is. (More is better.) I don’t know if that’s true, but now I keep my eye on the bubbles when I drink a glass.
There’s an interesting little article in the August 2008 Discovery magazine about the science of champagne. That wonderful tickly aroma when you take a drink? – “At the top…When a bubble breaches the surface of the beverage, its cap erupts and the rest of the bubble collapses in on itself, exploding into a cloud of tiny droplets that carry aromatic molecules of flavor from the liquid portion of the champagne.”
The glass plays an important role in the bubble train. “Bubble trains form when gas pockets latch on to etchings in the glass. Microsopic fibers from cleaning cloths or dust can also generate these trains. Some champagne glassmakers make small etches in the bottom of champagne glasses to increase nucleation and create more bubble trains.” I guess I won’t wash the dust out of the glasses anymore.
“To make for a consistent flow of bubbles, according to a paper by Liger-Belair, champagne should be served in a slender, curved flute, which is also best suited for creating aromatic foam at the top.”
I received eight new champagne glasses (shown below) for my birthday this year. They don’t fulfill the requirements listed above, but seem to work just fine. There’s a little rim of silver around the top. They look and feel elegant.
A glass of pink or traditional champagne for you?