Tuesday 5 May 2015

How Does Champagne Get its Bubbles?

Everyone knows that Champagne fizzes. It one of the reasons people across the world love it so much. But have you ever stopped to ask why? That’s the question the Ideal Wine Company is about to tackle by asking; how does Champagne get its bubbles?

The Champagne stereotype
There’s one stereotype that has characterised the public’s perception of Champagne for decades, if not centuries. Blame Hollywood. Most people think that when you open a bottle of Krug or Bollinger you need to be careful or you’ll be hit in the face by a pounding column of Champagne as it shoots up out of its glass prison.

Let us clear something up right now. Good Champagne shouldn’t flow up and out of the bottle when you pop open its cork. That’s a myth. The Louis Roederer Cristal 2002 from the Ideal Wine Company, for example, won’t fizz all over your hands the minute you crack it open. 

However Champagne is a bubbly drink; that much is true. Most people like the fact that their expensive bottle of Dom Perignon will jump and dive in the glass as they lift it to their mouth and take a glorious sip. It’s makes people feel sophisticated; like a glitzy A-lister at the OSCARS.

The Champagne carbonation process
What gives the world’s most decadent drink its characteristic pizzazz? Champagne is carbonated during its production process. Champagne houses must adhere to a particular set of rules and regulations, set down by the Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne, the organisation responsible for overseeing the Champagne industry, if they want to lend their products the vaunted label of “Champagne.”

Champagne houses do two things to carbonate their products. First, the grapes that are used for the base wine for Champagne (most are blends) are picked earlier than grapes for standard still wines. This makes the base wine more tart than its traditional counterpart.

This facilitates carbonation at the point where the producer adds sugar and yeast to the wine. They add more sugar and yeast to the base wine than they would normally, and leave it to complete Champagne’s famous double fermentation process. The yeast absorbs the sugar and creates carbon dioxide. However the excess carbon dioxide created by adding more yeast and sugar than normal has nowhere to go, so it pressurises the container and carbonates the wine.

Now you know why your Ideal Wine Company Champagne has bubbles!

There you are. It turns out that the Champagne making process is specifically designed to make it fizzy. Think about that the next time you pop open a bottle of luxury Champagne from the Ideal Wine Company!