Wine Talk

Snooth User: Degrandcru

How long to keep non-vintage champagne?

Original post by Degrandcru, Jan 5, 2010.

I always was under the impression that non-vintage champagne and other sparklers have to be drunk shortly after release and usually never keep them more then a few months. Now a friend of mine claimed that he ages non-vintage champagne for about 5 years, as they would develop a "nuttier" and less fruity taste.

So is there any advantage in aging non-vintage champagne and what is usually the time limit in which one should drink up non-vintage and other sparkling wines (cavas, prosecos, sekt etc.)?

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Reply by spanishtouch, Jul 8, 2010.

@winepleasure, I agree that most cava producers will tell you that it's best drunk fresh. That's the Catalan preference (and Spanish, come to that). That doesn't mean that some of the Cavas can't be aged, and/or won't be as good or better if they are. It's a different beast from Champagne though. From what various winemakers around here have told me, the hotter climate in Penedes means the grapes have more natural sugars than in France. I've talked with an importer who specifically asked to have the Cava sit 6 months after degorge before they shipped it, so that it had time to settle for the American audience. Again, like  @Greg said, some (unfortunately most) cava is cheap and made to be drunk soon.  

Reply by Andrew46, Jul 8, 2010.

" the hotter climate in Penedes means the grapes have more natural sugars than in France."

Does anyone know what at Brix they like to pick for cava?

I personally, I find this unlikely.  If the grapes have more sugar, then the alc will be too high to allow the secondary fermenation to complete.  That is why grapes for sparkling wine are deliberately picked under-ripe.  The cooler climate will keep the acid up, which does make the wine more stable and able to age.

Reply by Arconte, Aug 24, 2010.

I got to this thread because I recently acquired an old bottle of Mumm Brut NV in a small town liquor store. I've had plenty of good old vintage champagne but it's the first time that I find such an old NV bottle. Not a big deal but I was wondering what to expect. It's the type with white foil. I know for a fact that the foil was changed in 2002, but somehow the bottle seems older to me.

Reply by jamessulis, Aug 24, 2010.

Just curious, why would you use a baby with a bottle of wine?

I'm not judging, just curious

Lefty - The Great Pacific Northwest

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 25, 2010.

OMG.. my blonde curls are twirling on this subject!!!  

my opinion is that most sparklers can be aged.  I have had some great ones... Roederer, in the magnum, tasted so much more balanced, nutty and creamier than the same wine in the 750ml,  which directly speaks to aging, due to oxygen level.

But other posters are correct.. improperly stored wine/sparklers are at risk for oxidation/heat damage.  So lay down properly!!!!!

Not knowing EVERY nuance about EVERY sparkler, I can globally say that I think you can lay this down for 3-5yrs.  Expect a milder bite, creamier finish.. you may not be used to the taste of aged sparklers.... just be aware..  but YES, it is OK!!  Just be open to a different taste, if you have not experience aged sparklers before.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 26, 2010.

I am just happy to learn that my 99 PJ Belle Epoque is getting better in the basement!  Now I have something to look forward to, because it was darn good last New Year's Eve. Thanks, StephenHarvey. 

Seriously, I enjoy the insights of dmcker, but let's not be quite so hard on winepleasures.  These threads go in all directions.  There are objective facts about wine--RS, acidity, brix/oechsle at which grapes are picked, alcohol levels--but whether you like your cava/cremant/prosecco aged or not, in spite of the bottlers' recommendations, is subjective.  I geta the whole port/sauternes/beerenauslese sweet wine thing, but it's a waste to serve me Yquem because my subjective enjoyment is not there--nothing sweeter than a Kabinett really works for me.  As to any superannuated wine, Andre Tschelitcheff said it well:  "It is possible to drink very old wine.  It is even possible to enjoy it.  But it takes imagination."  Flat champagne may be "interesting," but it ain't for everyone.  How long you want to hang onto NV sparklers depends on what you can find in it.  Napagirl has it right again: Be open to a taste that may not be familiar.  Then decide if it was a good idea before you invest in another go-round. And trust your own judgment, because it's you that has to drink it. Safe to say, NO wine is the same after any meaningful lapse of time, regardless of cellaring conditions.  Could be better, could be worse. Depends on what you like.

Reply by dmcker, Aug 26, 2010.

Foxall, to get the full flavor you need to read the entire Cava thread that the last couple pages of this one sequed off of (see the link in my post on p.2) . I'm all for subjectivity, within certain limits. But limits were crossed in this case. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with everything in your post just above.

Tschelitcheff was a very interesting, seminal character. I grew up on several California wines made (BV) and coached (Heitz, Mondavi, Grgich et al.) by him back in the '70s. I've heard that quote before, but would be interested in its full context. 

Reply by ruthie4, Jun 29, 2012.

I have a couple of questions. My dad gave my husband and I a bottle of wine when we got married in 1971,  41 years ago. It is called Faisca Imported from portugal. Would it be any good by now? He also gave us a bottle of Andre pink Champaigne from modesto California in 1981.. How do I know what year it was made, and would it be any good by now? There are no dates on either bottle, but the Faisca wine is in an old green bottle. Please let me know if either would be any good now. I have kept both in a chest on their side in my closet. They have not been exposed to the light all these years.

Reply by EMark, Jun 29, 2012.

Ruthie, hopefully smarter people than me will respond to your questions, but let me take a start.

I would not be too optimistic about the Andre.  (As an interesting coincidence, Andre Sparkling wine was served at our wedding reception in 1976.  My father-in-law pulled out the last bottle around the time of our first anniversary.)  Andre is a high volume California producer of low-dollar sparkling wines with, really, no aging potential.  Here is what I would do.  Put it in the refrigerator for a good chill.  I think summertime is the time to try it.  Open it up and taste it.  If you like it, then that is good.  If you don't like it, you can either dump it, or, do what I do with a lot of wine whose time has passed and use it instead of vinegar in your next meat marinade.

I am completely ignorant of the Faisca from Portugal.  So, having time on my hands, I did a quick internet search.  It looks like there is a Rose called Faisca from the Jose Maria da Fonseca winery.  So, can you tell if this is a Rose wine, or can you find the Fonseca name anywhere on the label?

Again, unfortunately, I would not be optimistic about the 2012 potential of the Faisca.  I would recommend the same taste test I proposed for the Andre.

Regarding your storage in the chest in your closet, you have done a pretty good job of finding the best place in your house for storage--dark is good, and consistent temperature is also good, although, obviously, cool (mid fities Fahrenheit) is optimal.

I really hope that somebody who knows more about the Faisca responds.  With luck, I might be completely wrong about it.

Reply by Snoother 1278515, Apr 23, 2013.

i have bottle of brut reserva cava if anybody wants about 1999/2000

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