Champagne is one of those wines that seems like it’s more complicated than it should be. Maybe it’s the fancy bottles? Perhaps it’s the whole cork thing? But whatever it is, drinking Champagne is actually pretty straightforward.
Once you’ve opened a bottle of Champagne, you will want to store it in the refrigerator to keep it cold if you don’t have an ice bucket. Keeping open Champagne bottles in the fridge will help preserve the wine’s bubbles because CO2 is more soluble at lower temperatures. Storing open Champagne in the fridge will also help preserve the wine’s aromatics.
Here’s what you need to know.
Invest in a Champagne Sealer Stopper
If you envision drinking lots of Champagne or sparkling wine in the future, I’d love to be your friend!
Seriously, though, you may want to invest in a Champagne stopper that you can use on open bottles of bubbly.
These are specially designed stoppers for open bottles of sparkling wine. They form a seal with the wine bottle, but also sinch in place and lock down, preventing the bubbles from escaping.
Here’s the Champagne stopper that I own (see picture above, too):
These Champagne stoppers are special preservation stoppers that are designed to keep the fizz in your bottles over a few days.
Every wine bar that I’ve visited that pours sparkling wine uses these stoppers. They work really well!!
I use my special sparkling wine stopper regularly and it can keep the wine tasting fresh for about 3-4 days – which is the same amount of time for my non-sparkling wine vacu-vin air pump topper.
Just remember to keep your open wine in the fridge!
How to Keep Leftover Champagne
If you happen to have leftover Champagne (oh! to have such problems!), keeping it is relatively straightforward.
First, you will want to keep it cold.
You won’t be able to fit the mushroom cork back in the Champagne wine bottle, so don’t try.
These are special corks that expand under pressure, creating that cinched waste and classic mushroom shape.
You can stick an old wine cork in the bottle, but just be careful when taking it out. The CO2 will cause pressure to build up. You don’t want to be standing right over the bottle if the cork decides to fly out!
If you have a decorative wine stopper that sits loosely on the top of a wine bottle, this is the perfect time to use it. These wine stoppers allow the CO2 to escape slowly, preventing an exploding wine cork.
You can also put a little plastic cling wrap over the top of the bottle. This won’t keep the bubbles in, but it will allow gas to escape and avoid a messy explosion in your fridge.
How Long Can You Keep Open Champagne?
If you want to enjoy your Champagne while it still has bubbles and don’t have a special Champagne stopper, then plan on drinking it within 1 day after opening as long as you can keep it cold.
By day three, your wine will still taste like wine, but it will not be very bubbly.
If you do decide to invest in special sparkling wine stoppers, then you can keep your wine in the fridge for up to 3 days and still have some sparkles.
The wine may taste flatter than when you first opened it, but the Champagne will still have a little spritz.
Can You Drink Flat Champagne?
Yes, you can drink flat Champagne. If, for whatever reason, you weren’t able to enjoy your Champagne before it lost its bubbles, then fear not! You can still drink your Champagne as a standard white table wine.
Champagne is almost always made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Munier. These grapes make a high-acid white wine with a rounded mouthfeel.
You may actually pick up on more of the fruit and winemaking flavors in a flat Champagne – green apple, white peach, brioche, and biscuit. The wine’s high acid will pair well with salads, cheese platters, and white meat dishes.
Check out this list of 5 Everyday Chardonnay pairings – they will absolutely work for flat Champagne, too. After all, Champagne is made using Chardonnay grapes!
Why Is Champagne Served from an Ice Bucket?
In fancy restaurants, Champagne is traditionally served from a Champagne bucket, which is a mix of ice and water. Besides being theatrical and la-dee-dah, these buckets keep the Champagne chilled while you enjoy your bubbles.
The Champagne’s bubbles, which are carbon dioxide (CO2), are more soluble at colder temperatures, meaning that they dissolve more readily into the wine.
Warmer Champagne will release the bubbles more quickly, causing it to go flat, maybe even before your meal is finished.
This is the same thing that happens with an open can or bottle of soda pop on a warm day. It quickly loses its fizz.
If you’re enjoying Champagne (or any other sparkling wine for that matter) at home, you can mimic a Champagne bucket by using a bowl filled with ice cubes and water. It’s not romantic, but it’s functional!
If you can’t find a bowl and ice cubes, then you’ll want to keep your open bottle of Champagne cold by sticking it back in your fridge.
Using Leftover Champagne
Here are 5 fun ideas for your leftover Champagne:
- Breakfast or brunch mimosas: Mimosas are a mix of fruit juice with sparkling wine. After a night of celebration, pull out your bottle of bubbles and mix things up with a little breakfast elegance. You can adjust the ratio of wine/juice to your particular taste, but I generally pour 50/50 wine-to-juice. Orange, mango, pineapple, and apple are all classic favorites. For sparkling rose wines, try cranberry juice.
- Offer a glass to the neighbors: I’ve never had a neighbor turn down a random Tuesday night glass of sparkling wine. An excellent idea for winning friends and influencing people.
- Make it into a sauce: While not my first choice because Champagne is about the sparkles, you can absolutely cook with Champagne just like you would a normal white table wine. Use leftover wine for gravies, white cream sauces and alfredos.
- Soak fruits for breakfast: Place peeled fruit in a bowl and pour your leftover Champagne on top before heading to bed. In the morning, you’ll have a special treat to top your pancakes, waffles, or crêpes. Try pears, sliced grapes, grapefruit, berries, peaches, or nectarines.
- Freeze it in ice cube trays: Not quite ready to whip up sauces and soaked fruit for breakfast after a night of celebration? I feel you! Pop your leftovers in your fridge and the next day stick them in ice cube trays to freeze. Once frozen, use your Champagne ice cubes for soups (I recommend chicken), gravies, or sautees.
Thirsty for More?
Check out this post that tells you exactly how much sugar is in your Champagne depending on the style.
And here’s a fun post that dives into Champagne and chocolate. Decadent goodness right there.