Champagne is categorically and without exception the most noble and celebrated of all beverages, carrying a level of prestige and status that simply nothing else comes close to.
For one reason or another, most households will come across the odd bottle of Champagne here and there, by way of gifts, party leftovers and so on, which will often be stored away for retrieval on a special occasion.
While a quiet corner or vacant refrigerator shelf are usually charged with said storage responsibilities, there are a few simple tips anyone can follow in order to ensure their Champagne retains the highest levels of quality, regardless of how long it may be stored for.
There are a number of conflicting theories as to whether it is preferable to store Champagne bottle horizontally or vertically, each with its own unique and imaginative reasons as to why.
Indeed, both seem to have their plus-points, but common sense would seem to lean more toward horizontal storage for one very simple reason…which is to keep the cork from drying out. For those who have had the misfortune to sample ‘corked’ wine, the matter needs little further explanation.
With regard to an actual location, the traditional standard of a ‘cool dark place’ certainly apply here, though extra care should be taken to select an are that is not prone to temperature fluctuations or the potential for knock and disturbances.
The best advice is to simulate the conditions you would expect to find in a cellar, as such is the ideal home for all wines across the board. Generally speaking, an out-of-the-way cupboard or unused wardrobe makes a good alternative.
Although many believe that doing so preserves freshness, it is important to never store Champagne in a refrigerator for too long. Of course, the bottle must be perfectly chilled and put on ice before and during serving, but such only requires a couple of hours in the fridge, or maybe a day or two at the very most.
By storing Champagne in the refrigerator for extended periods of time, you run the very real risk of destroying many of the delightful complexities of flavor, reducing the overall quality and worth substantially.
In summary, the best way to store Champagne over time is to keep the bottle positioned horizontally in a specially designed wine-rack somewhere cool, dark and out of the way. It is also advisable to store all Champagne in such a way for a good few days following purchase, as all genuine Champagne will have traveled from France and may therefore require a good deal of time to settle.