The physics behind the fizz in champagne and sparkling wines
1 Équipe Effervescence, Groupe de Spectrométrie Moléculaire et Atmosphérique (GSMA), UMR CNRS 6089, UFR Sciences Exactes et Naturelles, BP. 1039, 51687 Reims Cedex 2, France
2 Laboratoire d’Œnologie et Chimie Appliquée, UPRES EA 2069, URVVC, UFR Sciences Exactes et Naturelles, Université de Reims, BP. 1039, 51687 Reims Cedex 2, France
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Revised: 16 November 2011
Published online: 12 March 2012
Bubbles in a glass of champagne may seem like the acme of frivolity to most of people, but in fact they may rather be considered as a fantastic playground for any physicist. Actually, the so-called effervescence process, which enlivens champagne and sparkling wines tasting, is the result of the fine interplay between CO2 dissolved gas molecules, tiny air pockets trapped within microscopic particles during the pouring process, and some both glass and liquid properties. Results obtained concerning the various steps where the CO2 molecule plays a role (from its ingestion in the liquid phase during the fermentation process to its progressive release in the headspace above the tasting glass as bubbles collapse) are gathered and synthesized to propose a self-consistent and global overview of how gaseous and dissolved CO2 impact champagne and sparkling wine science. Physicochemical processes behind the nucleation, rise, and burst of gaseous CO2 bubbles found in glasses poured with champagne and sparkling wines are depicted. Those phenomena observed in close-up through high-speed photography are often visually appealing. I hope that your enjoyment of champagne will be enhanced after reading this fully illustrated review dedicated to the science hidden right under your nose each time you enjoy a glass of champagne.
He received his PhD in physical sciences in 2001 from the University of Reims, in France. He received an associate professor position at the University of Reims in 2002, and a full professor position, in 2007, in the same University. He has been researching the physics and chemistry behind the bubbling properties of champagne and sparkling wines for several years. His current interests include the science of bubbles, foams and thin films, and their broad interdisciplinary applications. He is the author of several academic and popular science books. His first book, Uncorked: the science of champagne, published by Princeton University Press, won the 2004 award for the Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Physics from the Association of American Publishers.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2012