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Friday, February 28, 2014

Preserving Bubbles...the Low-Tech Way

I would not have believed it unless I had tried it.  Last month I rented a home in Carmel and opened bottles of bubbly one evening for a party.  While the house was very well equipped for wine-related entertaining (lovely stemware, foil cutter & well-made openers), it did not have a stopper for sparkling wine.  At the end of the night one of my in-the-know guests heard me lamenting that the bubbles would be gone the next day and offered the following:  “Stick a spoon in it.”  I thought I had mis-heard, but she proceeded to drop a spoon (handle down through the bottle’s neck) and placed it in the frig.

The next day I was sure the spoon trick had failed.  After all, I’m in the wine business and surely I would have heard of such a low-tech solution years ago if it actually worked.  The bubbles were still there 18 hours later. How could this be?  Two days later I was explaining the phenomena to another overnight guest.  (I think she thought the bubbles had gone to my head).  So, I replicated the spoon experiment, this time with a French bubbly.  Next day, the effervescence was still there.  Now, I’m a true believer, as are the several friends who sampled the spooned wine the following day.

How could this possibly be?  In searching the Internet, there’s a host of information about the spoon trick in preserving bubbles, including interesting evidence from researchers at Stanford University.  The Stanford scientists found that capping a bottle of sparkling wine actually decreases the number of bubbles and found the spoon to actually be more effective than a special Champagne closure.  There is also supposition that the key is refrigeration, not the spoon.  Some experiments indicate that refrigerating the bottle with or without a spoon is equally effective.

While you may not be willing to gamble with your finest vintage Champagne, try it, you’ll like it!

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