Does Champagne keep its fizz longer if you dangle a spoon inside the neck of an open bottle?
Ah, you’ve drummed up the Energizer Bunny of wine myths; this one never gets tired. Short answer: no. Spoons do not preserve bubbles, not for you, not for me, not for Uri Geller.
Especially popular in Europe, where a silver, rather than stainless steel, spoon is often recommended, the technique involves inserting the handle into the neck of a half-finished bottle, with the spoon’s wide bowl of course preventing the utensil from falling in.
I believe last time I addressed the claim was six years ago, when I cited an experiment by Stanford University chemistry professor Richard Zare and food-science writer Harold McGee. For me, that work pretty much laid the myth to rest. The following year, Scientific American also weighed in on the topic, citing not only the Zare-McGee research but also a test by the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the trade association of Champagne producers in France. With plenty of local bubbles at its disposal to perform an authoritative debunking, the CIVC found no difference, fizz-wise, between spooned and unspooned bottles that had been left open.
If you want your sparkle to stay bright, store the wine in the fridge, even assuming you can’t reseal it. Lower temperatures help keep carbon dioxide dissolved longer as a liquid versus letting it escape as a gas. Or you can do as I do and plug the top before placing the bottle in the fridge – with a proper Champagne stopper.
But I won’t sign off without bringing you fully up to date in spoon-and-sparkle news. Did you hear the story about Madonna that made the wine-publication rounds? The pop icon recently posted a video on Instagram in which she’s up late in the studio “eating” what appears to be Champagne by repeatedly dipping a tablespoon into her wine glass. Her own caption for the video: “Soup du Jour … #midnightsnack.” And that’s why she gets to be Madonna and we don’t.
Beppi Crosariol will once again be participating as The Globe’s wine expert on the July 2019 Globe and Mail Seine River Cruise. For details on how to reserve your cabin on this voyage down the Seine from Paris to Normandy visit GlobeNormandyCruise.com.