Could the French be wrong about the way Champagne should be poured?
Yes, according to Professor Gerard Liger-Belair, who recently conducted a series of tests utilizing thermographic equipment at the University of Reims.
The amount and persistence of bubbles in the glass is a key factor in the enjoyment of Champagne. So the goal is to “protect” those bubbles – i.e., to preserve as much CO2 as possible.
Using a widely available wine from Champagne’s 2008 vintage, Liger-Belair and his cohorts tested two pouring methods, and three wine temperatures.
The ideal temperature turned out to be 39 degrees Fahreinheit, and the ideal pouring practice proved to be other than what is known as “the Champagne method.”
For decades, French vintners have poured Champagne into the middle of a flute – a little bit at a time, making sure that the froth doesn’t overflow. But according to the study, that can cause a considerable loss of carbon dioxide.
Twice as much CO2 can be retained by instead tilting the flute and pouring the Champagne down the side, much like artisan brewers pour beer.
A few other notes about pouring Champagne:
* While old-fashioned coupe glasses are making a comeback in some locales and restaurants, they are not recommended except for cheap bottles or Champagne cocktails. Coupes are CO2 destroyers.
* While 39 degrees is the best serving temperature on average, older vintages benefit from being served a few degrees warmer.