Based on this summary, this EPJ ST story produced by SciencePOD was picked up by the New York Times as A Universe of Bubbles in Every Champagne Bottle.
Champagne owes its taste to the fine-tuned quality of its bubbles
What gives amazing aromas is a long neuro-physico-chemical process ending in bubbles fizzing at the surface of champagne
Ever wondered how the fate of champagne bubbles from their birth to their death with a pop enhances our perception of aromas? These are the kind of concerns relevant to champagne producers, which are the focus of a special issue of EPJ Special Topics, due to be published in early January 2017—celebrating the 10th anniversary of the publication. Thanks to scientists, champagne producers are now aware of the many neuro-physico-chemical mechanisms responsible for aroma release and flavour perception. Taste results from the complex interplay between the level of CO2 and the agents responsible for its aroma--known as volatile organic compounds--dispersed in champagne bubbles, as well as temperature, glass shape, and bubbling rate.
In the first part of the Special Topic issue, Gérard Liger-Belair from CNRS in Reims, France, has created a model to describe, in minute details, the journey of the gas contained in each bubble. It starts from the yeast-based fermentation process of grapes, leading to the creation of CO2 all the way to the nucleation and rise of gaseous CO2 bubbles in the champagne flute. It also includes the how the CO2 within the sealed bottle is kept in some form of finely tuned equilibrium and the goes into a fascinating cork-popping process.
The second part of this Special Issue is a tutorial review deciphering the process behind the collapse of bubbles. It is mainly based on recent advances conducted by a team of fluid physicists from Pierre and Marie Curie University, in Paris, France, led by Thomas Séon. When a champagne bubble reaches an air-liquid interface, it ruptures, projecting a multitude of tiny droplets in the air, creating an aerosol holding a concentrate of wine aromas.
G. Liger-Belair and T. Séon (2017), Bubble Dynamics in Champagne and Sparkling Wines: Recent Advances and Future Prospects, European Physical Journal ST, DOI
G. Liger-Belair (2017), Effervescence in champagne and sparkling wines: From grape harvest to bubble rise, European Physical Journal ST, DOI
T. Séon and G. Liger-Belair (2017), Effervescence in champagne and sparkling wines: From bubble bursting to droplet evaporation, European Physical Journal ST, DOI
Caption: Flower-shaped structure, as frozen through high-speed photography, found during the collapse of bubbles at the surface of a champagne flute
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