Wine myths: why bubbles aren't important in sparkling wines
There's a fascinating post on Jamie Goode's blog that takes a look at the science behind bubbles in sparkling wines.
When you get into wine you'll often hear their size and how they form in the glass spoken about as if it's a measure of the quality of the wine.
So for an expensive Champagne it's not uncommon to read talk of "finely beaded bubbles", or an "exceptional mousse".
When it comes to wines which have been made by CO2 being introduced to the wine via pressure (the Charmat method) as in most Prosecco and Cava, the bubbles are somehow not as refined; second class fizz if you like.
As Goode explains, this is all a load of tosh:
“How many bubbles does a bottle of Champagne have in it? Zero. The same goes for a bottle of Prosecco, or Cava, or English sparkling wine. They all have carbon dioxide dissolved in them, up to pressures of 6 atmospheres. It’s only when they are poured into a glass that the bubbles appear, and the nature of the bubble largely depends on the characteristics of the glass.
— Jamie Goode
The bubbles are formed by tiny imperfections in the glass deliberately there to release a stream of fizz. The CO2 gas in Prosecco or Cava is exactly the same as in Champagne; it isn't a measure of quality.