60-Second Science

Pour Champagne on the Side for Better Flavor

Pouring champagne down the side of a tilted glass, beer style, reduces carbon dioxide loss and retains more flavor, compared with a pour straight down to the glass bottom. Christopher Intagliata reports

You don't have to be a champagne buff to want the best flavor from your bubbly. So the secret to a perfect glass? It's all in the pour, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. [Gerard Liger-Belair et al.,]

A key player in champagne's taste is its dissolved carbon dioxide. As that CO2 bubbles out, it releases aroma, and provides that tingly bite. As soon as you uncork a bottle, CO2 starts diffusing from the champagne into the air. But pouring it speeds up that process, by increasing surface area and turbulence.

Chemists—French ones, of course—poured champagne into fluted glasses two ways. The traditional way, straight down, splashing off the bottom—and the beer way, onto the side of a tilted glass. Then they measured the CO2 lost during the pour.

At 40 degrees Fahrenheit, champagne poured traditionally quickly lost a quarter of its carbon dioxide. But pouring down the side caused only half the gas loss. Closer to room temperature, the drink became flat fast, whatever way you pour. So if you want your champagne très bon, keep it cold. And pour that bubbly like it’s Bud.

—Christopher Intagliata

[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

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