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Champagne in the fridge

  • danna Jan 3, 2007 04:33 PM
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Saturday, I stashed what I hope is a nice bottle of Champagne (Gaston Chiquet Tradition) in the fridge in preparation for New Year's Eve. My husband and I both wound up with a horrid stomach virus, so the wine is still in the fridge.

I think this is colder than ideal for storage, but how long can I reasonably leave it in there before it declines? My apologies if this is a clueless question.

TIA

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  1. Months, provided the fridge is relatively vibration free (don't store the bottle in the door!) and the wine is not exposed to off odours.

    1. Yes, it should last a good long while. Keep it on its side, rather than standing.

      1. I was always told by wine experts that you shouldn't store sparkling wines in the fridge for more than around a month. For some reason the taste may go "flat" after awhile.

        As for on its side vs, standing. I was also told that sparkling wines can be stored standing without the cork problems you get with still wines.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JMF

          All wines with real corks must be stored on their sides.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            >>All wines with real corks must be stored on their sides.<<

            For long-term storage, you're right. No harm will come from storing a cork-sealed bottle upright for a stretch of weeks and even months, however, provided the cork is in good shape.

        2. It will be fine for many months. Wine will not age in your fridge the same...slower.

          1. Years ago, I foolishly stored a couple bottles of fine, aged riesling in the fridge (on their side) for more than a couple of months. The wine was next to ruined. The bouquet and flavor were completely flattened

            I think the vibrations can can have ill effects on wine in the long term.

            I find a few weeks is generally okay... anything more than that, beware.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Yaqo Homo

              Interesting. Did you have any of the same wine/vintage stored differentlly that was fine?

              1. re: rednyellow

                Absolutely. I bought five bottles of some amazing Dr. Burklin-Wolff 1990 or 91 riesling. I absent-mindeedly left 2 of the bottles in the fridge. The other bottles were perfectly fine.

                1. re: Yaqo Homo

                  My wine storage is off-site. Since I don't have even a small wine fridge in my apartment, I keep all my ready-to-hand wines in my regular fridge for months at a time, especially during the hot summer months. I've never noticed any degradation in the wines so stored, even when opened alongside bottles of the same wine taken directly from my cellar.

                  Also, acquaintances who have adapted second-hand fridges for use as a wine fridge have reported no problems with ruined bottles.

                  You shouldn't discount the possibilty that your two bottles may have been bad to start with.

                  1. re: carswell

                    I'm no mathematician, but that sounds like a highly improbable coincidence, given the elegant, effusive nature and lingering finish of the 3 stored at cool room temperature and the dull stagnation of the 2 refrigerated bottles.

                    A more likely scenario is that fridge vibrates more than yours OR that I am imaginging the whole thing.

                    Note that there were no "off" or spoiled notes in the refrigerated wine--it had just lost a lot of the excitement and complexity I was expecting in what I knew to be a fine, aged riesling.

                    1. re: Yaqo Homo

                      >>A more likely scenario is that fridge vibrates more than yours<<

                      Maybe but unlikely. I think mine is the fridge that was installed when the apartment was built (1961). It's not even a frost-free model. And the second-hand fridges friends have converted into wine fridges are even older and clunkier than mine.

                      As for coincidences, they happen.

                  2. re: Yaqo Homo

                    Thanks, Thats good to know. I'm a big fan of "scientific process"... Eliminate the voo doo if you will.

                2. re: Yaqo Homo

                  Vern Singleton (UC Davis professor and coauthor of a standard enology textbook) had a refrigerator in his garage and successfully aged various wines in it for years. As I recall he said it just slowed things down.

                  Presumably he made sure the fridge's compressor didn't shake the wines. Vibration's definitely not good for proper aging.

                3. Danna, you now have the best of gifts: a reason to celebrate something spontaneously! St. Valentine's Day will be here soon enough, but why not pop it open when you find that you are due a return from the IRS, your mother-in-law has decided to postpone her visit, that clunking sound under the hood simply went away and never came back, the cat really isn’t pregnant, or that – hell – it’s Tuesday!

                  Of course it will keep (on its side), as everyone has suggested, for a few months (bit don’t push it, especially if you are wont to store lots of things containing raw garlic in the fridge). But hopefully you will find some occasion to open it in the near future. Since you missed regular, generic New Year, isn’t Chinese New Year coming up? Dig out your kimono and celebrate!

                  - Mrs. K.

                  (Oh dear: kimonos are Japanese, aren't they? Mrs. K. is the last one who'd want to be labelled politicaly incorrect, but dig it out anyway!)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Mrs.Keenlyside

                    Funny, thanks! Actually, a friend of mine has suggested that this Friday afternoon we drink the Champagne and then do a Yoga class and see if it makes us more flexible. Alternately, I have a race on the 27th, perhaps if I think about the Champagne hard enough, it will make me run fast enough to win something and justify Champagne popping.

                    1. re: danna

                      You can justify popping open the champagne after the race no matter what:

                      You won something: Obvious.
                      You finished: You beat a whole bunch of other people to the finish line.
                      You came in dead last: You didn't fall over dead.

                  2. First point - sparlking wines are cold stabilized prior to the secondary fermentation in the bottle. Certain wines can become unstable after the secondary, and when submitted to very cold temperatures (and this depends on how cold your refrigerator gets) can have some of the tartaric acid precipitate out. Usually these are extremely fine, are hard to see, but they create a great nucleation point around which the carbon dioxide will bubble out of solution - this could create more wine gushing than might be expected from a cold bottle. I usually keep a bottle of bubbly in the fridge, but it gets consumed quickly, within a week - advantage of being in the business.
                    Second Point: Corks do not respond well to the cold. Paraffin gets really hard when cold. And glass does contract when cold.
                    This could add up to a difficult removal of the cork. One of the original reasons ice buckets leave the upper reached of the bottle out of the ice/water... So if you are opening a cold bottle, wrap it in a towel, run some water water ofer the cork/
                    bottle mouth while the muselet (wire cage) is attached, to loosen the whole system. Put another towel over the cork, loosed the cage, and it should remove pretty normally.