"Come quickly, brothers, I am drinking stars!" said 17th-century monk and cellar master Dom Pérignon upon tasting the effervescent wine that would come to be known as champagne. Indeed, the experience of drinking champagne is mildly exhilarating in any setting, and University of Reims physics professor Liger-Belair, a Moët & Chandon consultant and self-proclaimed "bubbles addict," reveals the scientific reasons for the behavior and taste of the intoxicant in terms even a science novice can absorb. Though the romance of sipping a flute of champagne is somewhat dispelled by knowing that right after it is poured "the surfactant molecules interlock with each other and with the surrounding liquid molecules, strengthening the surface of the bubble and reducing the velocity of the liquid flows in the films of bubble caps," Liger-Belair is mindful to relate these complex physical and chemical processes to the perceptions of the drinker; he reminds readers that "bubbles bursting at the surface play a major role in flavor release." The bulk of the book is devoted to describing what happens to these bubbles, and Liger-Belairs patient discussions are accompanied by appealing photographs of bubbles at various points in their frenetic dance to the top of the glass. A short glossary, as well as Liger-Belairs unadorned prose, aid readers unfamiliar with fluid dynamics but delighted by the effervescence of champagne, making this book ideal for any champagne aficionado. 32 halftones
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This book presents the birth, life and death of a champagne bubble with such gusto, good humor and clarity that you will devour its delicious contents in one gulp. Whereas good champagne is to be sipped, this book is not. You will never experience the sensual elegance of champagne in quite the same way again once you have read this entertaining account of its history and 'fizzics.'
(Richard N. Zare Nature
A highly entertaining introduction to the science of champagne bubbles. . . . Uncorked
is very readable, and Liger-Belair's clear and simple descriptions of the physics are superbly suitable for a general audience. The book is also very aesthetically pleasing, making it an ideal present for wine lovers and bores alike.
(Stuart West Science
is an interesting, enjoyable read for anyone who has gazed too long upon a champagne-filled flute.
(Gregory Mone Popular Science
Liger-Belair, a physicist inspired to study bubbles by a brainstorm over a beer, delves into a champagne flute with a curiosity as strong as his microscope. The result is a book as informative as it is engaging, boosted by the gorgeous, up-close photos of bubbles in motion.
(Tara Q. Thomas The Denver Post
This small, gold-wrapped jewel-of-a-book makes the perfect companion gift to a bottle of bubbly. . . . Written by a passionate, wine-loving physicist with just the proper level of jargon for non-scientists, the birth, rise and bursting of a Champagne bubble is scrutinized, rhapsodized, diagrammed, photographed and, finally, demystified. . . . Knowing more about a bubble's lowly birth (formed from debris on the side of the glass) and ephemeral rise to fame will only serve to make you love it more.
(Claudia Conlon The Wine News
A delightfully readable little book.
(Joanna Simon The Sunday Times
[A] convivial examination of the party season's favorite tipple.
(Paul Nettleton The Guardian
The ultimate guide to the 'fizzics' of sparkling wine.
(Deborah Scoblionkov Philadelphia Inquirer
Ah, a science lesson I can really get into. . . . You will learn that there is no scientific evidence to support the assertion that small bubbles make for finer champagne; that champagne poured into completely clean glasses will always be flat; that narrow flutes with round bottoms make the most desirable sipping vessels; and that corks should be released with a 'subdued sigh' rather than a bang.
(Anjana Ahuja The Times
Chances are good that during the holiday season, you found yourself holding a glass of champagne. If the festivities were flagging, a question may have crossed your mind: What causes those delightful little bubbles that tickle your nose? In Uncorked
, Gerard Liger-Belair answers this and other questions that have occupied the wine world since the night French monk Dom Perignon invented champagne in the late 17th century.
(Donald Morrison Time Magazine
Never have I been so fascinated by so much information that I didn't need. . . . [A]n irresistible read.
(Richard Kinssies Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Did you ever look into a flute of champagne and wonder where those tiny bubbles come from? Physicist Liger-Belair explains this scientific phenomenon in easy-to-understand language, combined with diagrams and beautiful state-of-the-art, high-speed photography. In the process, he delves into the history, art, and science of making champagne.