Tahlequah Daily Press

Get the scoop!

June 20, 2014

Each glass of bubbly has at least a million reasons to drink it anytime

WASHINGTON — A champagne bottle holds about six atmospheres of pressure, requiring heavy glass, a special cork and a wire capsule to restrain the wine. In 2008, Decanter magazine reported that a German scientist with nothing better to do shook a champagne bottle really hard before opening it and measured the cork's speed at about 25 mph. (It's a wonder there aren't more one-eyed athletes on championship teams.) The scientist also estimated that if you left the bottle out in the sun without shaking it, the cork could theoretically reach a speed of 62 mph once you nudged it loose.

This year, French scientist Gerard Liger-Belair, who leads a team of fizzologists at the University of Reims, published a paper in which he concluded that a glass of champagne would release about 1 million bubbles.

Assuming you don't drink it, that is.

His figure was much less than the estimate of 15 million bubbles popularly bandied about by various wine writers.

The point is, opening a bottle of champagne relieves pressure - both on the bottle and on the drinker. Those bubbles that mark life's celebrations are really mood-altering drugs. That's why sparkling wine, and here I include any bubbly, not just champagne, makes an ideal aperitif for any occasion. No sourpuss can resist its charms. Food tastes better when we're happy, and bubbles make us happy.

Yet Americans still consider sparkling wine to be for special occasions, when we're probably already happy. The vast majority of us purchase one or a few bottles a year, typically in December. Even Veuve Clicquot, the most popular champagne in U.S. markets, is subject to this seasonal bias.

"We notice a little peak in sales around Valentine's Day, then again around Mother's Day, but most sales are concentrated around the new year," Cyril Brun, Clicquot's chief winemaker, said during a recent visit to Washington. He was optimistic, though, that consumers are beginning to enjoy the wine for itself instead of for the occasion.

 "When people are more into the product than the context, that's a big step forward," he said.

Of course there's plenty of good bubbly for those of us who are not on a champagne budget. Spanish cava is my favorite category for bargain bubbles. You've probably had a cava before: Freixenet Cordon Negro, in the ubiquitous black bottle, is a popular brand, if rather pedestrian, under $10. For something more interesting, try Jaume Serra Cristalino or Segura Viudas, both delicious for about $10. By spending just a few dollars more, say $15 to $20, you can find cava with real personality. My current favorites include the bright, fruity Tarrida Brut, made from organic grapes, and the fun Kila Cava, which is killer. Both are about $14.

Prosecco from northern Italy can set a positive mood as well, with its softer bubbles and light texture. And don't shy away from an Italian bubbly labeled "spumante," because many are quite good, such as the La Cappuccina Filos Brut, from the Veneto region in northeast Italy. Made from garganega grapes, it's essentially a sparkling soave and quite delicious for $16. France, outside its northeast province of Champagne, makes delicious bubblies called cremant.

Several American labels offer good value for the money: Gruet from New Mexico, Piper Sonoma and Scharffenberger from California, and Michelle from Washington state are good examples costing under $20.

So don't wait for a special occasion. Make one: a lousy day, a minor victory at the office, a tough commute home. That chilling bottle of bubbly might be just what's needed.

 

1
Text Only
Get the scoop!
  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • photo of oil tanks and fiberglass salt water tank.jpg Officials investigate oil-covered barn owls, dead birds

    “These birds got into a saltwater tank that was full. Most of it’s saltwater, but there’s the scum of oil on top of it. That’s the reason why the (Oklahoma) Corporation Commission and federal rules say that those tanks have to be covered." — Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Major County Game Warden Lt. Frank Huebert

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 25, 2014

  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 22, 2014

  • An oncologist uses scorpion venom to locate cancer cells

    Olson, a pediatric oncologist and research scientist in Seattle, has developed a compound he calls Tumor Paint. When injected into a cancer patient, it seems to light up all the malignant cells so surgeons can easily locate and excise them.

    July 22, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Stocks