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FEATURE ARTICLE

Bubbles and Flow Patterns in Champagne

Is the fizz just for show, or does it add to the taste of sparkling wines?

Guillaume Polidori, Philippe Jeandet, Gérard Liger-Belair

Figure 1. Champagne bubble trains and fog of dropletsClick to Enlarge ImageBubbles are an essential part of what makes champagne appealing. But are the bubbles just for decoration? Polidori and his colleagues, who hail from the Champagne region of France, have been working to find out the exact role of bubbles in the aroma and taste of champagne. They discuss what induces the bubbles in the first place and have engineered glasses to give measurable bubble flow patterns, which they have imaged with fluorescent dyes and lasers. They have found that the shape of the glass (a flute versus a wider coupe vessel) greatly affects the bubbles’ ability to mix the beverage, and could modify overall scent and flavor.


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