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The unique chemical reaction that causes champagne to have bubbles



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A complex series of chemical reactions between yeast and sugar helps to create attractive champagne bubbles.

Attractive bubbles in a champagne glass are part of the rituals of life, from toasting to Sunday dinner.

However, they are achieved through a process that you may not know.

With their ingenious chemical tricks, their manufacturers even manage to keep the gas inside the bottles, despite the fact that they have to open them halfway through the production process.

If you visit the Champagne region (in the north-east of France), you may be surprised to hear the champagne producer say that they add a mixture of sugar and yeast to this wine.

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For beginners, this sounds like some people do for Christmas with bad red wine: add sugar, a little water, spices, boil, maybe add a little kirschto turn a cheap drink into a delicacy.

But moderate addition of sugar and yeast to white wine part needed in development any champagne.

When microorganisms digest sugar, they release carbon dioxide, which in turn dissolves in wine.

They are a source of attractive bubbles.

More sugar, more bubbles

“There is a direct correlation between the number and size of bubbles and the amount of added sugar,” says Gerard Liger-Beler, a physicist at the University of Reims in France, who studies bubbles in champagne.

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Each bottle of champagne contains up to five liters of carbon dioxide.

The more sugar, the more bubbles there will be and the larger their size, and the energy contained in the yeast will cause the champagne to release more gas.

Strictly speaking, there are really no bubbles in wine until you open it.

This action reduces the pressure and allows the gas molecules to suddenly unite and form more bubbles as champagne does. contact with defects and dust inside the cup.

Yeast in wine, of course, quickly disappears at the moment when they are poured into a container.

But the small remnants of this compound are beginning to get rid of earlier, because the contents of a bottle of champagne does not remain unchanged, as the yeast is added until it reaches the consumer.

Remove waste and plug

To eliminate the remnants of yeast, called sediment, from wine, champagne manufacturers turn the bottles upside down and store them on the shelves. Then they rotate gently each time.

The precipitate enters the neck of the bottle and becomes sediment.

What happens next is a brilliant part of applied chemistry, which is said to have been invented in 1884.

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Yeast added to champagne must be decanted and removed before putting the wine up for sale.

Bottle Collars Immersed in very cold bathroomsalty waterat temperatures below 0 ° C

This water is stored in a liquid state, as the salt lowers the freezing point of the solution. This is how the waste on the bottle neck hardens.

Then, when the lid is removed, the gas pressure in the wine pushes a layer of residue out.

At this golden moment, the manufacturer adds some sugar and some champagne to fill the bottle and transform its contents into a special flavor.

After this addition, known as the “dose”, the cork is added quickly.

All the carbon dioxide the wine will have will already be there, says Liger-Beler. "Dose" is added rather to taste.

Intriguing and complex tastes

You may be surprised to learn that among the reactions that take place later is a Maillard reaction, something similar to what happens when bread is caramelized, toasts, french fries with bacon or onions.

"In champagne, the Maillard reaction creates the flavor of cookies or bunwhen this wine goes through a long aging process, "writes Peter Liem in his book called champagne,

This reaction between proteins, sugars and other components, can produce very intriguing flavors and complex,

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Champagne runs the risk of losing its bubbles if it has been stored for too long.

Liam says that most champagnes improve a year after sediment removal, although, as a rule, they are offered for sale as soon as they run out.

Liger-Belair, for its part, is currently exploring how long champagne is aged without risking losing bubbles.

The best champagne is those who leave to rest for several decades.

However, since the cork does not tightly close the bottle, the more is an to wait drinking wine the greater the risk it has no bubbles.

“We work a lot with mathematical models” to improve the cork and dynamic environment inside the bottle, says the physicist.

One bottle of champagne contains five liters of carbon dioxide.

The next time you open one of them and enjoy the sight of the bubbles, remember fine combination of biology and chemistry it gave them life

This text was originally published in English. If you want, you can read here,

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