HOW TO STORE CHAMPAGNE

The first rule of champagne storage is that there should ALWAYS be a bottle of champagne stored in the refrigerator. You never know when the sudden urge comes over you to celebrate (a promotion, a friend stopping by, or even just making it through a Tuesday of distance learning homeschool) and you'll want to make sure you have a cold bottle of bubbles to pop! Other than that first and most important rule, here are a few more tips and tricks for storing champagne.

storing champagne

 

How long can a bottle of champagne be stored?
As a general rule, non-vintage champagnes can be kept unopened for two to four years, and vintage cuvées for five to ten years (and sometimes longer). Champagnes will change as they age – most will become a deeper, golden color and loose some of their effervescence, but vintage champagnes can develop wonderful layers of nutty richness. Ideally, non-vintage champagnes and sparkling wines should be enjoyed within two years of when they leave the winery. In my personal opinion, champagnes that are brut nature (i.e. zero dosage) are not meant to age. They are meant to be drunk young, which maintains their bright, fresh flavor.
Should champagne be stored flat or upright?
One thing that doesn't really matter is the angle of the bottle. Unlike still wine, champagne can be stored on its side or upright since the pressure inside the bottle will help keep the cork moist and the seal intact. If you have a vintage champagne that you intend to age long term, I would lay it on its side and store in a temperature controlled room.
How should champagne be stored?
Always always store your champagne and sparkling wines in a dark, cool area. Sunlight is the most damaging thing to wine, and the clear glass that showcases the beautiful roses won't protect it from sun damage. For long-term champagne storage of vintage bottles, temperature should stay around 55°F. However, most temperatures that are above freezing and below room temperature (say 70°F) will work fine for short-term storage.
Does champagne improve with age?
The general consensus is that, unlike red wines, champagne does not get better with age after you have purchased it. This is especially true with non-vintage champagnes and sparkling wines. The most recognizable change to your champagne when storing long-term is that the alcohol loses its fizz that we all love. The bubbles become softer and the flavor less intensively fruit-forward. The champagne is absolutely safe to drink, but most bottles of bubbles don't necessarily improve. By law, a non-vintage champagne has to be aged for a minimum of 15 months and vintage champagne, three years. Most sparkling wine houses follow these same rules for their bubbles as well so really the wineries are doing all the aging work for you!

How do I store an opened bottle of champagne?
I honestly don’t usually have this problem, but on the occasional weeknight when the husband is away, I can pop a bottle of bubbly and not worry about the other half going bad. Why? Here’s the secret… always use a bouchon champagne stopper. These spring-loaded stoppers have a rubber seal that helps maintain your bottle's freshness for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. These have been a life saver for me and so many of my club members who want to pop a bottle, but don’t want to finish the whole thing. Shop bouchon champagne stoppers HERE.

 

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