The bubble man

July 23, 2009

hotchampagneDo you like champagne? I love it! In fact, if I could afford it, I’d drink champagne pretty much every time I have a glass of wine.

I wish my idle moments were spent pondering philosophical questions or formulating meaningful responses to problems such as poverty, disease and global warming. But, the truth is, I’m a pretty superficial person. Instead, I find myself on the subway or doing the dishes thinking about why some glasses of champagne are ‘hot’ (i.e. very bubbly) while others display just a gentle stream of bubbles.

The glasses in the photo above are identical but the one on the right has many more active bubbles. Why? These glasses of wine were poured at the same time from the same bottle. Shouldn’t the wine behave the same way in each glass?

Answering this dilemma led me to research by Gérard Liger-Belair, the world authority on wine bubbles (seriously, that’s his full time job!) As it turns out, the bubble and flow patterns you see in a glass of champagne can be affected by tiny flaws in a particular glass. In fact, some glasses are even etched to create pits in the glass that will create different flow volume and patterns. The intention isn’t just to give vapid women like me something pretty to look at while they get drunk, but to influence the way the aroma and taste of champagne are experienced.

Obviously, in the case of these two glasses, the effect wasn’t intended by the manufacturer but was the result of inconsistent workmanship. Regardless, it led me to learn something new (if not something useful)! Gawd, I love my job!

What food questions occupy your idle moments?


Pop! goes the New Year

December 31, 2008


    champagne bubbles
    Ready to ring in 2009 with a glass of bubbly?  Good for you!   I love champagne and will definitely be raising a glass myself when the clock strikes twelve. Not only is it a tradition for Martin and I to split a bottle of champagne on New Year’s Eve, but I feel it’s my obligation to the global economy in general and the champagne industry specifically to make sure this year is no exception.    

    Generally the noise and hub-bub of New Years Eve makes conversation starting unnecessary; but, if you find yourself with some silence to fill it might be handy to have some appropriate conversations starters. So, here are 5 facts about champagne you might find useful:

  1. Of the 270 villages in the Champagne region of France, only 17 have achieved the Grand Cru status of 100%.
  2. Dom Peringnon was the 17th Century cellar master of the Abbey of Hautvillers; he’s famous because he developed the art of blending wines to create great tasting champagne.
  3. Some modern champagne bottlers combine as many as 40 different base wines to create their champagne. One reason for all this blending is to create consistent flavour from year to year. 
  4. Vintage champagnes must legally be aged for at least 3 years before being released and are only created in exceptional years.
  5. Rose champagne (one of my favourites, in case you wondered) can be made by adding a bit of red still wine to the cuvee or by macerating red skinned grapes.

Cheers! I hope you enjoy a wonderful start to 2009!

WTF Wednesdays

February 27, 2008

Cheese and champagneAs regular readers here know, I recently slimmed down by 15 pounds and pledged to lose six additional pounds before spring. Although I plan to maintain my new shape, I also realize that mental health is as important as physical well-being and certainly much more important than physical beauty. (Although if I were to wrangle a tri-fecta of fabulousness by achieving all three qualities of physical health, mental health and gorgeousness, I’d see no shame in the accomplishment!)

February is a cold and dreary month here in central Canada and, to be honest, the lack of sunshine can lead to vitamin D deficiencies that aren’t good for a girl’s mood. Not good at all. Just last Wednesday I found myself feeling a little blue and with an overwhelming urge for cheese and champagne (bubbles make me happy), so I wasted no time at all and laid out a spread of yummy cheese and popped a cork of Lanson. Immediately I felt a wave of good feelings!

A moment or two later when my chef sprocket hubby came into the room (the pop of a champagne cork is like a dog whistle for that man!) I was happier still to welcome him to WTF Wednesday, my impromptu party thrown for no reason than to spread happiness.

So if you feel your new year’s resolve slipping away as the days in 2008 accumulate, take a break. We all deserve a WTF Wednesday. Just be sure it isn’t followed by a Debauchery Thursday and you’ll be just fine!