Uncorked : The Science of Champagne

3.72 (25 ratings by Goodreads)
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"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.Gerard 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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 160 pages
  • 193.04 x 198.12 x 17.78mm | 521.63g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 32 halftones. 13 line illus.
  • 0691119198
  • 9780691119199

Review quote

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 Uncorked 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. Choice
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About Gérard Liger-Belair

Gerard 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 Moet & Chandon.
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Table of contents

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction 1 CHAPTER TWO: The History of Champagne 7 CHAPTER THREE: The Making of Champagne 19 CHAPTER FOUR: A Flute or a Goblet? 31 CHAPTER FIVE: The Birth of a Bubble 37 CHAPTER SIX: The Bubble Rises 59 CHAPTER SEVEN: The Bubble Bursts 85 CHAPTER EIGHT: Afterword: The Future of Champagne Wines 133 Glossary 143 Bibliography 145 Acknowledgments 148 Index 149
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Rating details

25 ratings
3.72 out of 5 stars
5 24% (6)
4 44% (11)
3 16% (4)
2 12% (3)
1 4% (1)
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