Ooh, la la! You’ve gotten your hands on a fancy pants-bottle of sparkling wine. And it’s not just sparkling wine — it’s Champagne. (Yes, there’s a difference!) Classy gal or guy that you are, you don’t want to down this Champagne on just any old Tuesday. No, you want keep your bottle of bubbly on reserve for a special occasion. It is the drink of celebration, after all. Why not wait for something to celebrate?
Well, it’s time to start learning to celebrate life’s smaller moments — because that bottle isn’t going to keep for long. Unlike many still wines, Champagnes don’t always improve with age. And if you keep Champagne unopened for too long after you buy it, the taste of your bottle could warp for the worse.
This might seem confusing since vintage Champagnes are often nicer and more expensive than newer ones (we’re looking at you, Dom Perignon). But how gracefully Champagne ages depends on a few things, including the environmental conditions surrounding the bottle.
Vintage Champagne bottles were carefully selected and set aside by their producers; they’re kept in optimal conditions for aging until they’re deemed ready to be sold. These conditions are almost exclusively found in the cool climates of dark caves located beneath the Champagne region of France. These caves are constructed from old clay quarries sculpted in the Middle Ages. The clay walls and other qualities of these caves create the specific conditions necessary to best age vintage Champagne. And they’re kind of tough to replicate at home.
You’re probably storing your bottle less carefully — like, say, in your refrigerator or on your kitchen counter. Both of these areas are exposed to light, varied temperatures, and not-ideal levels of humidity. All of these factors can impact the taste of your wine. If the Champagne producer knew you waited months or years to pop the cork, they’d be dismayed.
You see, a producer will only release a bottle of Champagne to store shelves when it’s at its best — ready to be opened. No sooner, no later.
So who cares that it’s just any old Tuesday? It’s Tuesday. You’re alive. Cheers to that — quickly, before your Champagne is past its prime. And if you didn't know saving the bottle was ruining your Champagne, you probably didn't know these other interesting facts about your favorite sparkling beverage.