When should I open my NV Champagne? – ask Decanter

Saving a bottle of NV Champagne for a special occasion, but not sure how long you can keep it? Read the opinion of Decanter tastings director Christelle Guibert...

NV Champagne is generally intended to be ready to drink upon release, so there’s no need to hold on to it for too long.

It’s different to vintage Champagne, which is only made in certain years and where the best wines can improve with 10 or more years of ageing – albeit several winemakers would argue that they can also be drunk upon release after a few years in the producer’s cellars.

NV Champagne is required to have a minimum of 18 months ageing before it can be released – but some Champagne houses may choose to age it longer.

‘Roederer keep their NV wines in the cellars for three years before releasing them to the market,’ Marinel Fitzsimons, a spokesperson for Roederer Champagne, told Decanter.com.

Depends on disgorgement

‘It’s a complex question but in a nutshell – it all depends on the disgorgement date,’ said Christelle Guibert, Decanter‘s international tasting director. ‘Because most houses don’t have it on the back label, it’s hard to say.’

Non-vintage Champagnes that do feature the disgorgement date include Piper Heidsieck Essential NV – Platinum winner at the DWWA 2017 for best non-vintage Champagne.

Bollinger includes an ‘RD’ label for recently disgorged, while Krug prints ID labels on bottles, so customers can find out the disgorgement date by going online. Bruno Paillard has published disgorgement information since 1985.

Guibert said, ‘I would say that you can easily keep your non-vintage Champagne three years after disgorgement. Personally, I wait a year after disgorgement before drinking mine.

‘If you don’t have the disgorgement date, it’s hard to say as you don’t know how long the wine has been on the shelves – it’s the same problem with Fino and Manzanilla Sherry.

‘So in this case I would say drink it within a year.’

Jennifer Docherty MW told DecanterChina.com last year that it can be an interesting experiment to taste the same NV Champagne with different disgorgement dates.

Tips for storing your Champagne:

- For less than a month, stored standing up is fine. For longer than that, put it in a wine rack, so it’s horizontal.

- Keep it away from bright light

- Make sure the temperature is consistent

Translated by Sylvia Wu / 吴嘉溦

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