Header image courtesy of Coravin
It’s times like now that call for jubilation and joy more than ever. Popping open some bubbles should not have to require a cause for celebration, as a glass of champagne or sparkling wine can certainly transform almost any situation into a celebration by itself. But when the party winds down, the concern of how to handle a Moët that goes unfinished grows, all while the pockets of air dwindle before your eyes. In order to keep the party going, we have rounded up some typical and not-so-typical hacks passed down through old wives’ tales and wine experts to uncover which methods are best at keeping champagne and sparkling wines effervescent. Read on to find out what we have learnt from our tried-and-tested tipples!
Carbon dioxide bubbles in sparkling wines erupt at triple the rate of gas bubbles in beer, sizzling and cracking against the open air and absorbing each other in the process. It goes without saying that once opened, the kraken has been irrevocably released. In fact, relying on recorking to stop carbon dioxide was found by Stanford’s McGee and Zare to actually cause more harm than good in reducing flatness. Contact with the environment outside of the glass bottle causes the flavour of champagne to become less aromatic and pronounced as time goes on, causing chemical changes from a microscopic level.
Hardliner purists will insist that champagne, and sparkling wines in general, be downed within a sitting, with some turning the other cheek shamefully to tolerate stretching the bottle out to the next day. Although this hack is sommelier-certified, it isn’t very helpful in keeping your flute of fizz fresh for more than just a few hours. Bah, blaseology busted!
Not just a fancy accessory to the table, a bright silver bucket full of glistening ice is every bit as much a functional set-up as it is one that adds to the classy sipping experience. What maintains sprightly, buzzing bubbles is the temperature. Ideally, chilling your champagne helps the CO2 to keep in the drink for longer, while heat causes more oxygen to come into contact with the liquid, in turn depleting the supply of bubbles. It is also why storing champagne horizontally on its side in the fridge adds an extra level of airlocked moisture, as the cork is less likely to dry out in this position.
However, rushing overboard and entirely freezing the bottle will do the opposite of maintaining fizz. Frosted bottles or chilled flutes that are overly icy can cause more bubbles to burst, which doubles the speed of the pop running out. Experts have bookended a range of about eight to 10 degrees Celsius as the ideal temperature for storage. As important as the role temperature plays in maintaining the beverages in prime condition, it can only do so much in extending an open bottle’s lifetime. Returning to the fridge between pours is a simple way to harness the cold, but who’s got the time for that?
Nobody is sure of the origins that gave us wind of this trick, but it has certainly cropped up around various science labs, as well as amongst our own pantries. Legend has it that by dangling a metal spoon stem downwards inside the bottleneck of your champagne or sparkling wine, the spoon will function as a stopper and keep a barricade on the air that tries to rise to the surface of the bottle mouth. Theories expound on the practice by insisting that the coldness of the metal retains the crisp temperature the carbon dioxide bubbles need, keeping them contained and thus preserved for longer.
Although cold air is denser than hot air, the logic extends to assume that by conserving cold air, it creates an additional layer inside of the bottle that makes it harder for the bubbles to push past. While it is still inconclusive if this is what happens on a molecular level, it can be said (and seen) that the spoon trick is an improvement from purely storing the bottle in the cold.
Adding to the uncertainty of reliable results, there are several potential variables, like the size of the spoon. Even when effective, the longest the method works for is between two to four days at most. If your assortment of kitchen utensils is lacking, then this mechanism is your best bet. It is not, however, the best at keeping your champagne enjoyable.
Brought into the spotlight by Coravin, the brains behind the legendary wine preservation system that keeps the drink fresh through medical-grade-inspired needles, this champagne preserver device is the most cutting-edge hack in the world in keeping your bubbles moving. Firmly preserving the fizzle and the life of the party, the kit is your sidekick in extending the life of your effervescent favourites, so that each sip tastes exactly like the first pour. The device has been endorsed by famous champagne producers such as Moet Hennessy.
Its smart design allows you to keep the natural CO2 within the sparkling wine under pressure so that the bubbly stays in optimum conditions, preventing oxidation of the sparkling wine inside the bottle. With proper care, a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine treated using Coravin Sparkling can last up to four weeks after first opened thanks to their revolutionary champagne stopper and CO2 charger.
Aside from using it at home to keep your personal wine and champagne library stocked and fresh, this is a preservation system that can follow you to other places—and outdoors as well. Holidays especially will be upgraded immensely with the opportunity to share that special bottle with the ones you love the most.
Being outside is no problem either, since putting the Coravin Sparkling to work will not require any additional sockets or pesky wires. Now that’s a fun item that you should add to your packing list for holidays, glamping trips, beach excursions, or a picnic—the possibilities are endless!
As the holidays are quickly rounding the corner, how will you be taking your bubbly?