NEW YEAR RESOLUTION: STORE YOUR FIZZ PROPERLY
Now that you’ve brought your cherished bottles of fizz home – assuming that you are not going to drink it all at once – how do you store it?
First, pick the right spot. If you’re lucky enough to have a wine cellar or a wine fridge, that’s perfect, put it there.
If you don’t have a wine cellar, choose a place that is
– Cool – the ideal temperature is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), but a consistent temperature is more important than any particular temperature. Its temperature swings that flatten the flavours in your fizz. Cryogenics are not needed here.
– Dry – don’t put your bottle anywhere that is wet. However, the air should not be so dry that the corks dry out and let the wine oxidise. In England, our high humidity means that this is not really an issue unless you have installed vicious air conditioning.
– Dark – sunlight not only raises the temperature of the room and creates temperature swings , but can also give your fizz ‘lightstrike’ – some electric light does the same. This will make it taste of soggy cardboard. Preferably your chosen spot will have no windows, but if there are windows, do cover them.
– Undisturbed – you don’t want to keep agitating the wine – even with vibrations – because it will affect the taste.
– Hard floored – Trust me, its so much easier to clean spills from a hard floor than from a carpet. You never know when a bottle might pop its cork or smash.
– Racked – install a wine rack with big enough holes for champagne bottles, so that they can be stored on their side. The wine will then be in contact with the cork and will stop it drying out. If you only buy large format fizz (lucky you!) unless you have dedicated racking, a magnum or larger will not fit into the rack. It can be kept upright, but you should not wait too long before drinking it.
– Uncluttered – no detritus should impede you on your path to your bottle. Trip hazards are a distraction.
As always, rules are sometimes there to be broken. Last year a survey suggested that you should keep your fizz in the fridge to keep it fresh and stop it browning. Traditional fizzerati baulked at this: a fridge is too dry, its too cold, there is regular agitation as people rummage (particularly if you shove it in the door), and every time you open the door – the light comes on! Opinion is divided. Personally I still prefer a cellar.
Store your fizz carefully and you will enjoy each sip. Just please don’t store your fizz in a warm kitchen – wedged between the fridge and the oven.