Scientific Study Elucidates how to Pour Healthy Holiday Champagne

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Just in time for the holidays, French researchers clarify the best way to pour heart healthy champagne to preserve taste and fizz., reported in the American Chemical Society'sJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The findings serve to clear up long standing debates, and is also the first scientific evidence showing the importance of chilling before consumption. As for pouring, the way to preserve taste and fizz that transmits the essence of champagne, is by angling the glass and pouring the bubbly beverage down the side, just like beer.

The study authors note the quintessence of fine champagne and sparkling wines come from the tiny bubbles. Gérard Liger-Belair and colleagues say bubbles form when carbon dioxide gas is released, sending the aroma, taste, and the feel of champagne in the mouth.

The scientists suspected the way champagne is poured could have an effect on the quality. Until now, there was no data available, so they studied the behavior of carbon dioxide, using two different pouring methods – straight down or angled and down the side of the glass, using infrared spectography to observe the bubbles.

They found that “During the standard champagne-like way of serving, champagne vertically falls and hits the bottom of the flute (thus usually providing a thick head of foam, which quickly vertically extends and then progressively collapses during serving). This way is the traditional way of serving champagne and sparkling wines in bars, clubs, and restaurants.”

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The authors say, “The beer-like way of serving champagne was found to impact its concentration of dissolved CO2 significantly less.” They explain the liquid runs down the side of a flute, producing less turbulence. The champagne then recovers its vertical position progressively during the pour.

Last December, findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition, revealed the heart healthy benefits of drinking champagne. One to two glasses a day could help fight heart disease and improve circulation from the effect of polyphenols that relax the blood vessels to keep blood pressure levels normal.

The findings show the way champagne is poured can preserve carbon dioxide. Down the side of an angled glass yielded higher levels of the gas, preserving taste. Chilling the beverage also helps preserve carbon dioxide, and higher temperatures are better.

Last year's news that champagne is heart healthy, combined with the new study that scientifically proves the best way to pour champagne is the same as pouring beer into a glass, should clear up any debate about sharing some chilled bubbly with friends and family.

Journal of Agricuture and Food Chemistry: DOI: 10.1021/jf101239w

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