What is the Maillard reaction?

A. Evaporation that occurs when a wine is decanted, causing sulfur compounds to “blow off”

B. A genetic variation in taste buds that causes some people to react strongly to bitterness

C. A chemical reaction in Champagne that can give it toasty, rich, caramelized flavors

D. A chemical reaction that binds tannins in wine and causes sediment


OK, this was a hard one. But the Maillard reaction is fascinating. Named for French scientist Louis Camille Maillard, it refers to a series of complex chemical reactions between sugar and amino acids. In Champagne, amino acids produced by yeasts react with sugar and impart toasty, rich, caramelized flavors. The Maillard reaction is also what gives flavor to foods when they are browned, seared, or toasted.

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