Have you ever stared at a champagne bottle? Or have you taken time out to admire champagne poured into a flute?
Next time you are served a bottle or glass of champagne, take some seconds to appreciate the magic that flickers like the stars. Beautiful pearly-bubbles seemingly rising in an endless stream from the bottom of the bottle or glass and flowing to the top.
The stream of bubbles seems to go on forever and for many staunch drinkers of this beautiful sparkling wine, this is a mystery that only the crispy taste makes them soon forget, sip after sip. Notwithstanding, many have been poised to ask where these beautiful bubbles come from.
What could be behind these amazing bubbly show in a glass of chill champagne?
The answer is simple. Champagne bottles have a boiler inside that heats the drink to cause the bubbles.
JUST KIDDING! Don’t tell me you believed that.
Champagne bubbles are a product of carbonation during the production process of champagnes. So there is nothing really mysterious about those lovely bubbles except simple natural carbonation.
Champagne is nothing but just a wine, soured grapefruits. It only becomes sparkling wine when carbon dioxide is added to it to create the bubbles.
After the grapes have been picked and pressed, it is now stored and left to ferment with a little yeast allowed into it. After the first fermentation, sugar and more yeast are then added to it to trigger another fermentation. As the yeast eats the sugar it releases carbon dioxide. Since the extra carbon dioxide has nowhere to go, it pressurizes the bottle and carbonates the wine.
The bottles are then sealed with a crown cap and put in a riddling rack at an angle with the crown cap facing down to allow the lees to settle under the cork. The necks of the bottles are then quick-frozen, freezing the lees. This is also done to maintain the CO2 in the liquid. The cap is removed and the lees go flying like a cork.
The final corking is quickly done so as to avoid too much CO2 escaping from the bottle. Corked wines are now stored for additional years before being sold.
Note that one chief difference between champagne and other carbonated drinks is that it is bottled and fermentation continue to produce CO2 which is trapped in the liquid.
There are about four types of champagne bubbles which are created depending on the production process.
There are the long-lasting bubbles which are created following the classic traditional method of making champagne.
Champagnes produced using the Charmat Method results in bigger bubbles that are synonymous with other carbonated wines.
When the fermentation is done using tanks instead of bottles, the itty-bitty bubbles are made.
Vintage champagnes generally have less acid which makes them less-bubbly. As a result of a few bubbles contained in them, vintage champagnes rather have a smell that reminds you of hazelnut and brioche.
So next time while taking in the beauty of the bubbles, it is best to drink it then, because if you leave it long enough, the CO2 will escape and the bubbles will disappear – and the tingling sensation on the tongue will go too, making the champagne flat.