Influence of the different cork stoppers and sulfur dose in Champagne quality

Ana Maria Mislata 1,2; Michelle Rodríguez 2; Christophe Loisel 3; Miquel Puxeu 1; Enric Nart 1; Sergi De Lamo 1; Montserrat Mestres 2 and Raúl Ferrer-Gallego 1
1 VITEC – Centre Tecnològic del Vi, Spain
2 Instrumental Sensometry (i-Sens), Department of Analytical Chemistry and Organic  Chemistry, Campus Sescelades, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain
3 DIAM Bouchage SAS-Espace Tech Ulrich, France

Email contact: anamaria.mislata[@]


As is well known, Champagne is a product of the highest quality recognized in the international market. Champagne is a type of sparkling wine made in the Champagne region (France) using the traditional method of champenoise. Aging in the bottle is the final stage before being consumed, and it is considered a time of maturation in which many chemical and sensory changes occur (1). In addition, the stoppers have a very important influence on the quality of the product during bottle aging (2). Today there are different types of corks with different types of oxygen permeabilities (3). This oxygen transfer rate (OTR) through the cork can cause changes in the color, in the aromatic composition and in the organoleptic sensations of the Champagne, causing a loss of its quality (3, 4). For all these reasons, the main objective of this work is to evaluate the effect of different types of cork stoppers in Champagne with different doses of sulfur (added in bottling) for a year. To carry out the study, five types of corks (C1, C2, C3, C4 and C5) with increasing OTRs values and the control with sheet metal closure (Control), and three different doses of sulfur (0, 10 and 20 mg/L) were used. Of all of them, the basic parameters, color and Cielab coordinates, CO2 pressure, aromatic composition (fermentative, oxidative and reduction aromas), and sensory analysis were analyzed at each of the four sampling points. The analysis times were after bottling (T0) and after 3, 6, 12 months of aging in the bottle (T3, T6, T12). The results showed that the parameter 'time' was the main factor in producing differences between the samples, followed by the doses of sulfur and type of cork. In general, the basic parameters of champagne did not show significant differences except for total sulfur content. In general, the color, the CO2 parameters and especially the aromatic composition changed over time, showing the main changes after 12 months in the bottle. The fermentation aromas were decreasing, and the oxidation and reduction aromas were increasing over time. The samples with the highest dose of sulfur (20 mg/L) were less evolved, however they showed greater reductions. In addition, C5 and C3 corks with were the corks that best preserved Champagne in relation to the preservation of fermentative aromas, and in achieving a better balance between oxidation-reduction conditions, after 12 months of aging. However, the C2 was the cork that had the worst preservation of fermentative aromas and the greatest oxidation caused the Champagne. Finally, the sensory analysis on time 12 months corroborated analytics, the best valued Champagne being those closed with C3 and C5 corks, and the worst with C2. Therefore, a good choice about the type of cork and the dose of sulfur in bottling can prolong its optimal moment of consumption in time, while preserving its quality.



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Published on 06/12/2018
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