30. March 2011 01:00
Like we mentioned in our post about the shelf life of wine gifts, champagne and sparkling wine gifts have different shelf lives based on the brand and quality. If you’re unsure of how long you can hold onto champagne wedding gifts or sparkling wine gifts from any other congratulatory occasion, we hope our simple shelf life suggestions will help.
Once your champagne and sparkling wine gifts are popped open, we recommend consuming within 3-5 hours. Since champagne and sparkling wine are carbonated, they will go flat quickly unless sealed very tightly. If you must store leftover champagne, use a rubber based stopper to stop the bottle of bubbly and refrigerate. We suggest consuming the remainder in the following 2 days.
The storage environment for unopened champagne and sparkling wine gifts is similar what we mentioned in our Wine Gifts Shelf Life post. Store champagne and sparkling wines in a cool, dark place like a basement or a cool closet (between 55-58 degrees F). The champagnes and sparkling wines should be moved minimally and stored on their side to prevent the cork from drying and from losing carbonation.
A key indicator for the shelf life of a champagne gift is whether or not it’s “vintage” champagne. The term “vintage”, in terms of champagne, means that it’s made from grapes from a single harvest year. Years that fail to generate grapes of sufficient quality are skipped so “vintage” champagnes are only created when the house believes the grapes of that year will produce a good offering.
As a rule of thumb, most of the less expensive, non vintage champagnes and sparkling wine gifts should be consumed within the first few months of purchase. Vintage champagnes and champagnes generally known for their quality and longevity can be stored for 10 years and the exceptional vintages and brands may be stored for decades. Allowing a great champagne to age longer in the bottle may soften the carbonation, lessen the fruity acidity and create a fuller bodied rich taste. Similar to wine gifts, the less fruity champagne gifts are better candidates to age well.
It’s worth noting that like many assets, champagnes reach peak quality and value, and can diminish in both over time. So storing champagne can be like gambling or speculating: you win some and you lose some. Luxury Dom Perignon Gifts and Gosset Sparkling Wine gifts are examples of good quality candidates for aging—if you can resist opening them immediately, though instant gratification is fun too.