Whether it’s a celebration, a holiday, or a day to unwind, champagne is a favorite among many. In an effort to serve better alcohol, many are wondering, does champagne get stronger with age?
From an alcohol content perspective, the alcohol content in champagne does not increase or get stronger over time.
Flavor-wise, champagne can get stronger or more concentrated with age. When you age champagne, you transform the fresh and citrusy flavors into more complex nutty, toasty, and biscuity flavors. The fizz, bubbles, and carbonation typically soften as champagne ages. The question of whether this is better or not depends on personal preferences.
Not all types of champagne age the same. Some bottles are better for aging while some are better for immediate drinking.
Does Champagne Get Stronger With Age?
Champagne is among the go-to celebratory sparkling wines. The fizz and bubbles add more fun to the festivities of whatever you’re celebrating.
When you’re shopping for the perfect bottle to pop open to make a toast with, your mind might be torn between two decisions: pop open the champagne immediately or let it bottle age for some time.
Champagne can age. When you age champagne, it’s important to understand that it will undergo flavor, texture, and color changes, compared to how they leave their respective champagne houses and into store shelves.
If you pop open and drink young champagne, you will experience fresh citrus flavors with a lot of fizz and bubbles. But when you age your champagne, the fizz and bubbles will soften and the bottle won’t “pop” as much if you open it immediately. The fresh and fruity citrus flavors will also develop into more nutty, toasty, and biscuity flavors.
In this sense, we can say that champagne flavors get stronger and more complex when aged, compared to the fresh and citrusy flavors of champagne that weren’t aged.
Does champagne get better with age?
While you can age champagne, the question if it gets better with age depends more on your personal preference. Ask yourself what you like better between the two flavor profiles.
Do you like the fresh and citrusy flavors better or would you prefer the biscuity, nutty, and toasty flavors that develop with age instead?
Your preferences on the champagne’s fizz and bubbles are also worth considering. Do you want a lot of bubbles as you sip your drink or you wouldn’t mind softer carbonation?
Once you answer these questions yourself, you will also find the answer to the question of whether or not champagne gets better with age.
Should You Age Champagne?
The answer to this question is again, based on your personal preference. Generally, you can use whatever type of champagne you have as a guide on champagne aging.
Vintage champagne is produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes harvested in a single year. They’re generally of higher quality and bottle-aged for about three years.
If left unopened, quality vintage champagne can last for about five to ten years.
Vintage champagne offers great and tasty results when you age them, thanks to its richer and more complex flavor profile.
Non-vintage champagne is champagne produced from grapes harvested over several years. It’s typically bottle-aged for about 18 months and has a shelf life of about three to four years if left unopened.
Non-vintage champagnes are ready to drink right after your purchase. And generally, they don’t age as well as vintage champagne.
Aged Champagne: How Does Champagne Age?
Champagne ages in the bottle, unlike traditional wine which ages in oak barrels.
When champagne ages, the bubbles, fizz, and carbonation soften. Then, its fresh and citrusy flavor profile transforms into a more nutty, toasty, biscuity, and complex flavor.
How Long Does Champagne Last Unopened?
Champagne and other alcoholic beverages can go bad. But they go bad in the sense that it affects the taste and quality rather than the safety of consumption.
Generally, non-vintage champagne has a shelf life of about three to four years while champagne vintages last longer for about five to ten years.
The quality of the champagne is not the only determining factor in how long champagne lasts. How you store your bottle also directly affects its shelf life.
Champagne should be stored in a cool and dark place. It shouldn’t sit under direct sunlight nor be near anything that constantly moves or vibrates.
How to Store Champagne for Aging
If you’re planning on aging your champagne, you should keep in mind these proper storage guidelines:
- Do not store and age the bottle in the fridge. It should be stored in a cool and dry place.
- The optimal storage temperature is about 50°F to 55°F. Do not store it anywhere with fluctuating temperatures.
- Keep the champagne away from direct sunlight or any artificial light.
- Keep it away from appliances and items that constantly vibrate.
- Keep the bottle on its side to prevent the cork from drying out.
The sparkling wine beverage from France’s champagne region is an ever-present beverage in celebrations, parties, and casual social gatherings. Does champagne get stronger with age? This is a question always on people’s minds especially if they want to impress guests with their alcohol.
Champagne does get stronger with age in the sense that the fresh and citrusy flavors in young champagne turn into more complex, nutty, and biscuity flavors in aged champagne. Aged champagne also results in softer fizz and bubbles. The question of whether aged champagne is better or not depends on personal preferences and which flavor profile you like better.
Not all champagne age the same way. Some bottles age better while some don’t.