Uncorked : The Science of Champagne

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Uncorked quenches our curiosity about the inner workings of one of the world's most prized beverages. Esteemed 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, how long they last, or how they behave before they fade? And why does serving champagne in a long-stemmed flute prolong its chill and effervescence? Through lively prose and a wealth of state-of-the-art photos, this revised edition of Uncorked unlocks the door to what champagne is all about. Providing an unprecedented close-up view of the beauty in the bubbles, Gerard Liger-Belair presents images that look surprisingly like lovely flowers, geometric patterns, even galaxies as the bubbles rise through the glass and burst forth on the surface. He illustrates how bubbles form not on the glass itself but are "born" out of debris stuck on the glass wall, how they rise, and how they pop. Offering a colorful history of champagne, Liger-Belair tells us how it is made and he asks if global warming could spell champagne's demise. In a brand-new afterword, he updates the reader on new developments in the world of bubble science and delves even more deeply into the processes that give champagne its unique and beautiful character. Bubbly may tickle the nose, but Uncorked tackles what the nose and the naked eye cannot--the spectacular science that gives champagne its charm and champagne drinkers immeasurable pleasure.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 193.04 x 198.12 x 17.78mm | 589.67g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised edition with a New foreword by Herve This
  • 32 halftones. 13 line illus.
  • 069115872X
  • 9780691158723
  • 527,363

Review quote

Praise for the previous edition: "The ultimate guide to the 'fizzics' of sparkling wine."--Deborah Scoblionkov, Philadelphia Inquirer Praise for the previous edition: "[A] convivial examination of the party season's favorite tipple."--Paul Nettleton, Guardian Praise for the previous edition: "A delightfully readable little book."--Joanna Simon, Sunday Times--London Praise for the previous edition: "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, Denver Post Praise for the previous edition: "Uncorked is an interesting, enjoyable read for anyone who has gazed too long upon a champagne-filled flute."--Gregory Mone, Popular Science Praise for the previous edition: "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 Praise for the previous edition: "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 Praise for the previous edition: "[This] 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, Wine News Winner of the 2005 Best Book in the World on French Wine, Gourmand World Cookbook AwardsWinner of the 2004 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Physics and Astronomy, Association of American Publishersshow more

Back cover copy

"No one knows bubbliness better than Gerard Liger-Belair, and this new edition of his delightful Uncorked brings fresh insights--and beautiful photographs--to illuminate its sparkling subject."--Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchenshow more

About Gérard Liger-Belair

Gerard Liger-Belair is a physics professor at the University of Reims, located in the Champagne region of France.show more

Table of contents

Foreword ix1 Introduction 12 The History of Champagne 73 The Making of Champagne 194 A Flute or a Goblet? 315 The Birth of a Bubble 376 The Bubble Rises 597 The Bubble Bursts 858 The Future of Champagne Wines 133Afterword 143Glossary 183Bibliography 185Acknowledgments 188Index 189show more

Rating details

22 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 27% (6)
4 36% (8)
3 18% (4)
2 14% (3)
1 5% (1)
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