There's a fascinating article in the NY Times today about how the tongue perceives the particular taste of carbonated beverages—a category that includes sparkling wines. Evidently, it isn't the prickliness of the popping bubbles that gives things that 'fizzy' taste, as one might think, but the receptors in the tongue that perceive sour flavors, which, as it turns out, are also tuned to sense carbon dioxide. The article (and the research paper in Science, which it reports on; only available with a subscription) is mainly concerned with soda and whatnot, but Champagne lovers might get a kick out of it as well.
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