What gives a Champagne a 'fine mousse'...?

Fine Champagne mousse

Question raised at Decanter Fine Wine Encounter 2016: What things generate the fine mousse in a Champagne?

Didier Depond, president of Champagne Salon and Delamotte, replies: To get fine streams of small bubbles – a sign of great Champagne – the second fermentation in the bottle must be done in a 9˚C room.

If the temperature is any higher or lower, the bubbles will either be fat or not there at all.

This 9˚C is the key. March or April is when the second fermentation happens, and spring in Champagne in the past few years has been quite hot, so we’ve had to keep a close eye on the temperature.

For small houses with small cellars like ours at Salon and Delamotte it is quite easy to do this, but much harder for the big houses.

The type of glass you use is important, as is the cleanliness of the glass. Lipstick is the killer.

I have women ask me at tastings: ‘Why are there no more bubbles in my Champagne?’

I show them the lipstick mark on the rim of their glass; the oils in the lipstick kill the mousse immediately.

And the best way to clean your wine glasses?

Use warm or hot water but no detergent and let them dry naturally before giving them a good polish.



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