Outside playing with my brother, the afternoon progressed and as it often does in that area, clouds rolled in. Layers and layers of clouds like slowly pouring thick crème anglaise back and forth over the top of a fruit tart. They rose, bubbling up high into the sky.
A dark grey thunderhead formed covering the sky while the wind picked up and the day turned sullen. Those storms were supreme, nothing to slough off. My mom called out not sure where me and my brother were playing. Then the lightening came, a white streak across the sky. “Boom!” We jumped out of the hedge with fright not expecting the close crash.
Fearful, we cornered the house and came into view. Mom quickly herded us inside then the lights went out. ”Crack, crackle, boom!” Another rod hit what I thought was our very house. She lit candles while I sat on the couch trembling.
Scared? Yes. But a glass of orange soda with a straw soothed everything. By way of an ear-to-ear smile, I took that soda and began blowing bubbles, soothing bubbles that took all fear away. Thunder roared overhead like an angry lion but the sizes and textures of bubbles were absorbing. I dreamed about those bubbles for years.
Bubbles continue to fascinate me. Take those in mineral water, where choices range from “finement” to “intensémente pétillante”. I describe this bubble spectrum as mellow to sharp, tiny to large. They are aggressively tingling or cascading on the tongue then fizzle out. It’s fascinating this bubble size and the available choice here in Bordeaux, my current home.
On occasion I question whether I’ve become a bubble snob. Does size matter? Will the experience be summer in a glass: complex, refreshing, lasting? Or will it be filled with belching carbon dioxide gas and a bloated gut? Yes I’m picky about my sparkling water and that pickiness and bubble fascination extends to the most important of bubbles, those found in Champagne or sparkling wine.
These bubbles are like a sensory thunderstorm in pale color. Bubbles filled with aroma and flavor molecules that undergo a famed ascent then explode onto the liquid’s surface. Small to large, soft to sharp, gritty to creamy. They whisper, chatter and hiss. On occasion silvery, other times gold. My favorite are those that endure, softly caressing your palate. This is fine mousse.
I’m not a scientist and this bubble stuff can get pretty in-depth. Prosecco, Sekt, Cremant? Cava, Spumante, Champagne? Regardless of source, size or number, bubbles continue to fascinate me and are forever in my dreams.
Monthly Wine Writing Challenge
This is a submission to the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC27) run by The Drunken Cyclist, Jeff. All submissions are linked to wine in some entertaining way. It’s a contest so have fun reading the other entries and vote! (Voting ends Monday, September 19th.) The September theme is bubbles, selected by last month’s winner, Jim of JVB Uncorked.