Uncorked: The Science of Champagne

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Princeton University Press, 2004 - Cooking - 152 pages

The spectacular science behind champagne's effervescence

Uncorked is the first book to quench our curiosity about the inner workings of one of the world's most popular drinks. Prized for its freshness, vitality, and sensuality, champagne is a wine of great complexity. Mysteries aplenty gush forth with the popping of that cork. Just what is that fizz? Can you judge champagne quality by how big the bubbles are, by how long they last, by how they behave before they fade? Why exactly does serving champagne in a long-stemmed flute prolong both the chill and the effervescence?

Through lively prose and a wealth of state-of-the-art, high-speed photos, this book unlocks the door to the mystery of what champagne effervescence is really all about. Gérard Liger-Belair provides an unprecedented close-up view of the beauty in the bubbles--images that look surprisingly like lovely flowers, geometric patterns, even galaxies as they rise through the glass and then burst forth on the surface. He fully illustrates: how bubbles form not on the glass itself but are instead "born" out of debris stuck on the glass wall; how they rise; and how they burst--the most picturesque and functional stage of the bubble's fleeting life.

Uncorked also provides a colorful history of champagne, tells us how it is made, and asks: could global warming spell its demise? Bubbly may tickle the nose, but this book tackles what the nose and the naked eye cannot--the spectacular science of that which gives champagne its charm and gives us our pleasure.



The History of Champagne
The Making of Champagne
A Flute or a Goblet?
The Birth of a Bubble
The Bubble Rises
The Bubble Bursts
The Future of Champagne Wines

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About the author (2004)

Gérard Liger-Belair is Associate Professor of Physical Sciences at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, in the heart of the Champagne wine region. He has been researching the physical chemistry of bubbles in carbonated beverages for several years, and his photographs have appeared in numerous exhibitions and art galleries. He also works as a consultant for the research department of Champagne Moët & Chandon.

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