On the 5th day of Fizzmas my true love gave to me… a lesson on bubbles! This is actually pretty fun. So during fermentation, carbon dioxide is produced. For most wines, this CO2 is just released into the air, never to be seen again. But Champagne actually undergoes two fermentations, and in the second one the CO2 is kept in the bottle – voila, you’ve got bubbles!
In your glass, these bubbles form around any irregularity – like a rough surface, tiny imperfection in the glass, or fibers from a towel used to dry the glass. More microscopic bubbles hold onto and collect around this spot and get bigger until the bubble can push against the wine above it. Then the bubble rises and bursts at the surface.
A while ago I tasted through some sparkling wines from Bouvet-Ladubay, a winery in the Saumur part of the Loire Valley. They make Crémant de Loire, sparklers that are made the same way as Champagne except they do it mostly with Chenin Blanc grapes. Crémants are always great values compared to Champagne, and Bouvet’s Brut (80% Chenin Blanc, 20% Chardonnay) is no exception at about $13.
Anyway, they gave me a “bubble brush,” a silver pen with a tiny diamond on the tip. When you scratch your glass with it and then pour in any sparkling wine, bubbles will form in the scratched place. Check out my video below to see how it works – very cool party trick!