The chemistry of champagne may be more complex than you think.(Credit: Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry)
Though popping open a bottle of champagne is a staple of romance, there's one step that gentlemen (and ladies) might be overlooking: their pouring method. While there's historically been some disagreement about this, a group of French scientists have agreed that the best way to pour the bubbly is at an angle, down the side of the glass.
Sorry, guys, but you'll need to add that to your growing list of date etiquette points.
Tilting the glass and pouring chilled (39 degrees Fahrenheit, to be precise) champagne down the side is the most effective way to preserve the beverage's taste and effervescence, said the scientists, who report their findings in a recent issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
What settled the argument was the amount of carbon dioxide lost during the pouring process. Carbon dioxide, which is transferred by the beverage's bubbles, is what preserves the taste, aroma, and "mouth feel" of the champagne. The researchers did a series of tests measuring the dissolved CO2 concentration in champagne and sparkling wines and even used IR thermography to visualize the cloud of gaseous CO2 that flows down from champagne during pouring.
Gerard Liger-Belair and his colleagues in France found that pouring champagne straight and down the middle results in more carbon dioxide loss than the side method. They've known this for a while, they say, but this is the first study that proves their theory.