TOWARDS THE SHELF-LIFE PREDICTION OF OLD CHAMPAGNE VINTAGES DEPENDING ON THE BOTTLE CAPACITY
Today, nearly one billion bottles of different sizes and capacities are aging in Champagne cellars while waiting to be put on the market. Among them, several tens of thousands of prestigious cuvees elaborated prior the 2000s are potentially concerned by prolonged aging on lees. However, when it comes to champagne tasting, dissolved CO₂ is a key compound responsible for the very much sought-after effervescence in glasses . Yet, the slow decrease of dissolved CO₂ during prolonged aging of the most pres-tigious cuvees raises the issue of how long a champagne can age before it becomes unable to form CO₂ bubbles during tasting .
Measurements of dissolved CO₂ concentrations were done on a collection of 13 successive champagne vintages, stored in standard 75 cL bottles and 150 cL magnums, showing prolonged aging on lees ranging from 25 to 47 years. The vintages elaborated in magnums were found to retain their dissolved CO₂ much more efficiently during prolonged aging than the same vintages elaborated in standard bottles. A multi-variable exponential decay-type model was proposed for the theoretical time-dependent concentration of dissolved CO₂ and the subsequent CO₂ pressure in the sealed bottles during champagne aging. The CO₂ mass transfer coefficients through the crown caps used to seal champagne bottle prior the 2000s was thus approached in situ, with a global average value m3 s-1 . Moreover, the shelf-life of a champagne bottle was examined in view of its ability to still produce CO₂ bubbles in a tasting glass. A formula was proposed to estimate the shelf-life of a bottle having experienced prolonged aging on lees, which combines the various relevant parameters at play, including the geometric parameters of the bottle . Increasing the bottle size is found to tremendously increase its capacity to preserve dissolved CO₂ and therefore the bubbling capacity of champagne during tasting.
Issue: OENO Macrowine 2023
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Carbone dioxide, Champagne, Aging on lees, Effervescence