Twenty-nine French kings were crowned in the city of Reims, and the school in the city where the HEG classes took place had served as the headquarters for General Eisenhower when the armistice was signed. But, Reims is more popularly known as a city that produces the famous sparkling wine.
The bubbles in a glass of champagne originate from tiny invisible foreign particles present on the surface of glass derived from air or the cloth or tissue used to clean the glass – when viewed at high magnification tiny strands of these particles can be seen trapping the carbon dioxide gas from the liquid to create a train of bubbles1. So, when the glass is cleaned with a strong cleansing agent like acid, champagne does not generate any bubbles! 1
The bubble trains in the liquid popping on the surface with a crackle, each shooting-up a small jet of champagne, raise questions: do these bubbles constantly mix the aroma compounds in a glass of champagne, and do these jets carry tiny molecules of champagne aroma in a way that makes for a unique experience? As the tiny jets of fluid settle down they reveal a single sheet of bubbles the average size of which is influenced by the shape of the glass. Infrared imaging reveals that the escape of carbon dioxide which produces the bubbles varies depending on how the champagne is poured and into what shape of glass1. Does the quality of texture in a liquid matter?
When asked, a member of a champagne house while acknowledging its importance said they don’t do anything to directly control the fine dynamics of bubbles other than what their traditional method of champagne making calls for. In a room full of people describing what they taste, one person who looked like he was enjoying the moment as much as any other seemed content to just look at the bubbles and talk about it.
The only classroom lecture on champagne that was delivered during the HEG program was not one on terroir or production, but one by a physicist whose interest to watch, photograph and study bubbles in sparkling beverages lead him to an academic career in a region now famous for the bubbles in its wine, but which at one time back in history only produced still wines, so much so when bubbles were discovered accidentally in the wine, there was an effort to eliminate them since they were considered undesirable1.
1. Uncorked: The Science of Champagne by Gérard Liger-Belair