When it comes to sparkling wine, a continuous stream of small bubbles is desirable. They are fun to drink for sure.
How bubbles get into the sparkling wine
It is simple physics. During fermentation, dissolved bubbles of carbon dioxide gas form in the liquid. These dissolved gas bubbles are kept in the liquid by pressurized carbon dioxide gas in the neck of the sparkling wine bottle.
As soon as a the cork pops, the bubbles rise inside the bottle. The gas leaves the bottle. The drink begins to lose its fizz after that. With this in mind, enjoy your sparkling wine right away once opened.
How to … keep bubbles in the sparkling wine
As I have shown above gas wants to leave. No matter if it is a bottle or a glass. You can’t get more bubbles into sparkling wine. However there are a some things you can do to continue the stream of bubbles.
Keep the bubbles cold
Firstly, keep your bubbly nice and cold. Carbon dioxide makes the bubbles happen. This gas is more soluble in cold liquid. Warm carbonated beverages—from sparkling wine to beer to soda—will fizz up and the carbon dioxide escapes rapidly. Result is a flat drink.
Well chilled bubbly has a gentle stream of tiny bubbles. It will last a long time as the carbon dioxide is slowly released.
Forget about flutes
Bubbles are formed at what are called “nucleation sites”. “Huh?” you ask. Yeah, me, too.
Sparkling wine is a liquid with carbon dioxide gas. Nucleation sites are places where the carbon dioxide can make bubbles. For example tiny surface imperfections in the glass. Some glass manufacturers will therefore etch the bowl of a sparkling wine glass with a laser or an etching tool to get extra nucleation sites for continuous bubble formation.
Invest in nice glasses.
Flutes come to mind as traditional sparkling wine glasses. On the one hand the rising string bubble formation of the mousseux can be better viewed in a flute.
On the other hand regular tall flutes are very often ridiculously small in size. Under those circumstances it’s hard to get the nose in the glass and smell. And you want to smell the bubbly. It’s part of the bubbly experience.
Secondly the flute is commonly poured full with the result that the nose is getting showered of carbon dioxide when you taste the wine. You wanna smell the aromas and not the carbon dioxide.
A great sparkling wine glass should leave room above the drink for the aromas to circulate. Additionally the glass brings out the best qualities and finest nuances of a sparkling wine. But be careful. But remember that the glass can also bring out the worst qualities and any faults or off-aromas of a sparkler.
I often use a white wine glass to drink bubbles. It brings out the truth of a sparkling wine. I also have flutes. Younger sparkling wines disappear in a big glass.
Small bubbles are not better
There is still the misbelief that small straight raising bubbles makes the sparkling wine more enjoyable.
Forget about that. French scientist are leading in aroma research. They found out the size of the pearlage has no impact on the quality of a sparkling wine.
The team of Gérard Liger-Belair of the University of Reims found out that big bubbles can increase the aerosoles above the glass. Again one of those word.
Aerosoles are a suspension of fine solid or liquid particles in gas. They create a fragrance experience and that benefits the aroma.