One of the most common questions we get at CoolerSomm is whether Champagne bottles can fit neatly onto the shelves of our wine coolers and the answer is 'it depends on the wine cooler' although most do allow for Champagne storage either on the top, or more commonly, bottom shelves of the wine cooler. We've got over 50 Champagne fridges that are ideal for both the collector and the drinker from £600 to £6000.
Most brands of wine cooler, especially those over countertop height, have enough width between shelves to allow Champagne bottles to be stored although this is not always the case and is certainly worth checking if you are storing a large amount of Champagne and expect to need more than the top or bottom shelves for storage.
Champagne bottles have a wider circumference than Bordeaux, Burgundy or Alsatian flute bottles and thus, if not accommodated for in the width between shelves, can either cause the labels to scrape off when entering or exit the cooler or, worse still, press the shelves above and cause them to be placed under strain.
Which wine coolers are the best for storing Champagne?
Some brands of wine cooler actively support large amounts of Champagne by having wide gaps between all shelves. One example of a great wine fridge specifically for Champagne would be the Dunavox Grande series whose wide spaced shelves ensure no label tearing.
The ultimate Champagne cabinet comes from EuroCave, their EuroCave Champagne cabinet has been heralded as the best Champagne fridge in production however, this is more for Champagne service than storage.
Another good brand for storing Champagne would be the full height Swisscave wine coolers that also have space enough for Champagne and allow complete shelf removal and height adjustments to cater for various wines. The best Swisscave units for Champagne are the single zone units that allow for another 2.5cm of shelf depth, we recommend particularly the Swisscave WL455F for this purpose.
What temperature should I store Champagne over the longer term?
Champagne, like most other wines, should be stored around 12°C over the longer term, in a dark place, with no vibration or bad odours and a humidity level of between 55-75%. Ideally, this would be in the cellars of the Champagne houses themselves, however, failing that, one of our premium wine cabinets is the next best thing.
Which Champagnes are the best for long term ageing?
The best quality Champagnes, as when young, would be the vintage Champagnes from the premium producers in optimum years.
Some of the most celebrated wines to enjoy over the longer term include Pol Roger's Winston Churchill cuvee, Krug of course, and the prestige cuvées like Grand Siècle.
The best Champagne vintages in recent years that are still widely available on the open market include 2012 and 2008. If you're buying Champagne that is already mature for investment or enjoyment then consider '96, '90, '88, '85 and '82.
What does mature Champagne taste like?
Like mature wine, mature Champagne takes on an entirely new character with bottle age that can offer a different experience to young Champagne;
· Champagne bubbles are tiny —very fine and delicate.
· Champagne's aromas and flavours are more intense, more complex and more elegant.
· The length of the wine is longer and more persistent.