Throughout the world, champagne, or other sparkling wine, is synonymous with celebration. Its lively effervescence and the “goes straight to your head” quality lends a sense of joy to any celebration.
But occasionally your capacity for celebrating may be greater than your capacity. In this case, how do you store an opened bottle of champagne?
The key issue in storing an open bottle of champagne is how to preserve those delectable little bubbles that tickle your nose and were put there by the laborious and time-consuming process of the “methode champagne”.
The first thing to consider is the proper opening of the bottle to preserve as much of the bubbles as possible.
After removing the foil and loosening the wire cage that secures the cork, hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle against your body with the cork pointing away from you or your guests. Holding the cork firmly with the palm of your hand covering the cork and twisting the bottle will allow the pressure within to push the cork gently out of the bottle.
The idea here is to prevent the champagne from foaming up and losing those precious bubbles. By properly opening the champagne, you will preserve the sparkle that makes champagne that special beverage of celebration and extend the life of an unfinished bottle. So, unless you are in the winning Super Bowl locker room or in the clubhouse of a World Series champion, don’t shake up the bottle, keep it cold and open the champagne gently as described above.
Unfortunately, even under the best of conditions, the carbonation in champagne will only last for a maximum of two days. Unless you are in the habit of drinking $100 plus bottles of champagne, it doesn’t make much sense to invest in equipment such as vacuum pumps and inert gas canisters.
Your best bet is to find a rubber stopper in a “clamshell” configuration that can be twisted tightly creating an airtight seal.
Once this is done, store in the coldest part of the refrigerator in an upright position and reopen the bottle within a day or two.
Otherwise, champagne can make a fantastic cooking wine or poaching liquid for fish and other seafood. If the ability to finish a whole bottle of champagne is an issue, there many fine champagnes that are sold in half bottles including such revered ones as Dom Perignon. These days it is not an uncommon sight to see celebrities and other “beautiful people”, sipping on their half bottles through straws in all the chic clubs. Next time you’re out to dinner, consider a half bottle while you settle into your chairs and review the menu.
Unfortunately, the sad fact is that champagne just won’t retain its sparkle for too long after it’s opened. Depending on how many open bottles of champagne you have, your best tool may just be the telephone. Make it an excuse to invite a friend or neighbor for a glass of this delightful beverage. A glass of champagne used to toast a friend is never a waste.