Is It Possible To Cellar Champagne Without Worrying About Spoilage
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Is It Possible To Cellar Champagne Without Worrying About Spoilage?

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18 Jan Is It Possible To Cellar Champagne Without Worrying About Spoilage?

Laying down Champagne isn’t a new concept and it’s been done over the centuries. Misconception is rife in the minds of some wine lovers that Champagne just doesn’t age well. As far as the opinions of most wine experts go, this is largely a myth.

As in the northern marginal climates of various classic vineyards like Germany’s Rhineland or Mosel or even Chablis, Champagne can potentially be quite long-lived and complex in challenging and variable weather.

Aspects such as the mineral depth of the great terroirs that’s in-sync with life-giving acidity, protective storage and extended lees ageing can often result in the best vintages that can easily have a lifespan of 10, 15 or even 20 years. In some cases, vintage champagnes age amazingly well up to 50 years, when stored under the right conditions. Read on to learn whether it’s possible to cellar champagne without worrying about spoilage.

Is Champagne A Serious Wine?

We’d like to add here that this is possible only with superb cuvées produced by the great Champagne houses and premium vintages from credible wineries. Champagnes with lower price tags, also called budget Champagnes are typically produced from the second pressings of grapes. Some of these have a surprisingly burly fruitiness that make them ideal for early drinking but they just aren’t built to mellow and age gracefully.

Britain has a long tradition of laying down champagne. It was the md-19th century English wine merchants that literally coerced great houses such as Pommery and Perrier-Jouët, Bollinger into creating less-sweet British Champagne cuvées as these would age better than the typically sweet variants.

An increasing number of wine connoisseurs appreciate the wide variety of styles and diversity that Champagne offers. They also prefer mature wines and now consider champagne to be in the class of serious wine.

Which Champagne Can You Lay Down?

Most fine Champagnes fall into three main categories of:

  • Prestige
  • Vintage
  • Non-vintage

All of these can benefit from further ageing in your home to reveal more robust flavours, and are to varying degrees, suitable for laying down. Blanc de blancs have a higher capacity to aging well compared to blanc de noirs. Chardonnays grown in shallow soils will age better than Côte des Blancs that are grown in chalk sub-soils. Certain crus of Pinot Noir like Aÿ and Verzenay are the main elements in some of the greatest cuvées blends; they too have the capacity to mellow gracefully. But if you are trying to age a Pinot, you must learn to be patient as it’s a late developer.

To Age or Not To Age Champagne?

Premier wine producers aver that vintage Champagne needs to be aged for at least three consecutive years. The unsaid implication here is that vintages worthy of their names could be laid down for at least close to a decade. But non-vintage champagnes are aged for between two and three years before being put on the market.

When unopened, a vintage champagne can easily remain good to drink for at least five to ten years from the time of purchase. But once you’ve opened it, you would have to re-cork it and store the bottle in a dry and cool place and it will keep well for between three and five days.

Non-vintage champagnes on the other hand, will keep well for only about three to four years after purchase and would have to be consumed within three and five days of being uncorked. Check out our complete guide on how to open, serve and store champagne here.

To find out about how Signature Cellars can help you design and build a wine storage solution that can help protect your investment and add value to your home, call us on 1300 570 636 or email info@signaturecellars.com.au.

Thanks for reading,
Neil Smallman
Signature Cellars
1300 570 636

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