Want Better Champagne? Don't Store It In The Refrigerator

Nothing says celebration like a glass of freshly chilled Champagne, but did you know that you actually shouldn't be storing your bottle in the refrigerator? Keeping Champagne in the fridge for extended periods can be detrimental to its quality, experts say. The main problem with the fridge is that most of them run too cold to properly store the sparkling beverage, which should be kept at an ideal temperature ranging between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature of a refrigerator is 40 degrees and below. A few days in the fridge is unlikely to have any effect, but extended periods of time at cold temperatures can mute the flavors and aromas.

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The fridge effect happens when the dry air inside the refrigerator dries out the cork. A dry cork can shrink and allow air to seep into the bottle, which can oxidize the Champagne. Oxidation can lead to a flat taste and loss of the Champagne's characteristic effervescence, and let's be honest, no one wants that.

Where to store your Champagne instead

Champagne is at its best when stored in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. A wine cellar or a dedicated wine fridge is perfect for this, as these environments are specially designed to store your Champagne and wine under the ideal conditions.

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If you don't have a wine cellar or fridge, no worries. A dark closet or a basement can work just as well, as long as the temperature is stable. The darkness is also helpful because it helps avoid something called lightstrike. This occurs when Champagne is exposed to natural or artificial light, which can bleach the wine and warp the flavor.

In addition to the right location, you'll also want to make sure you store your Champagne in the correct orientation. If it's just going to be a few days before you pop the cork and enjoy, then storing upright in the fridge is okay. For longer-term storage, go with your cool, dark spot, and be sure to lay the bottle on its side, which will keep the cork from drying out.

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How to quickly chill Champagne

We reviewed the best temperature for storing Champagne, but the best temperature for drinking it typically falls around 46 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That means if you have guests coming over in 30 minutes for dinner and you want to enjoy a glass of crisp bubbly, you'll need to chill your bottle quickly. Luckily, there are a couple of options you can rely on in a pinch.

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The first and most obvious method relies on an ice bucket. Simply fill the bucket with ice and about a third of the way with water and cool your Champagne for 15 or 20 minutes. A more unique way to keep your beverage chilled is to use frozen grapes as ice cubes. They will keep the Champagne crisp and cold, and you won't need to worry about them melting and diluting the taste. No matter how you chill your Champagne, be sure to only fill glasses about a third of the way and to hold them by the stem so the drink doesn't warm too quickly as you're drinking it.

Once your bottle is popped and chilled, it should stay crisp and bubbly for around 24 hours. Unfortunately, that spoon-in-the-bottle myth won't help, but there areĀ preservation kits that can help you extend the fizzy shelf life of your opened bottle for up to a month.

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