Should you Age Champagne?

Fat Cork Club – Join Now!

To cellar, or to drink, a question many of us ask when purchasing a beautiful bottle of wine. Champagne is unique in that it’s aged to perfection in the caves of producers in France before release. Champagne benefits from long amounts of time on the lees (the dead yeast cells) leftover from secondary fermentation. When Champagne is aging in the caves, the lees have not yet been removed, so the Champagne is becoming more complex as it ages. Before corking, the lees are removed from bottles through a process called disgorgement. And, once the cork is in place, the Champagne is gradually exposed to a small amount of oxygen, let in by the porous surface of the cork over time.

Below: Champagne aging on the lees. 

Should you Age Champagne?

Producers taste their Champagnes at all stages of development, and will only disgorge and cork them when they’ve reached their prime. Therefore, in most cases, the Champagne will taste its best, as the producer intended it to taste, 6 months to about 3 years after corking.

However, many people enjoy the flavors of a cork aged Champagne. The oxygen will open up flavors, often expanding the range of flavors present. But if you’re not starting with perfect, high-quality Champagne, aging it too long can make the Champagne taste funky. Below is our general guide for aging your Champagne, based on type.

Should you Age Champagne?

ROSÉ – Drink within 1 year after purchasing

Delicate and fruit-forward, most rosés are best enjoyed soon after they have been corked. The exceptions are vintage specific rosé Champagnes and rosé Champagnes made with the pinot noir grape. Both have the structure to generally age for 3-5 years under cork.

NON VINTAGE BLANCS – Drink within 3-5 years after purchasing

Non-vintage Champagnes are blended wines, made from a mix of recently harvested wine, and reserve wine. Most producers craft a non-vintage Champagne as their house style and most are aged to perfection in the cellars of their producer and don’t need to be kept under a cork for too long. The oxidation can eventually overwhelm the beautiful fruit flavors resulting in a mature effect.

VINTAGES – Drink within 10-15 years after purchasing

Vintage Champagne is always aged by the producer for a minimum of three years and often much longer. Vintages are only bottled in extraordinary years, when the grapes are perfect and weather conditions are ideal. Therefore, when buying a vintage Champagne, you can assume it’s high-quality, and age-worthy. Though still unpredictable, aging a vintage Champagne under cork will often open up the flavors and expand the range. Like wine, Champagne vintages are distinct and will taste different as they age. 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2008 are some of our favorite, most age-worthy Champagne vintages.

Should you Age Champagne?

CELEBRATE EVERYDAY!

Our philosophy is to pop open Champagne as often as you can, to make any occasion special! Instead of keeping your “best bottles”, waiting for the perfect moment to pop the cork, open the bottle to celebrate any day! Toast to a home-cooked meal, your spouse, a bad day, a promotion, or anything. Opening that special bottle will create lasting memories and smiles for all.

Join our mailing list!

Rosé 101

Rosé Champagne

These beautiful pink bubbles are made much the same as blanc Champagnes, but instead of using only the white juices of the grape, rosés implement the dark red skins of pinot noir and pinot meunier. Fat Cork rosé ranges from pale pink to light red, with flavors ranging from very dry & tart to deep & fruit-forward.

Red + White = Pink
The blending method of creating rosé Champagne is when a small amount of still red wine (vin rouge in French) is blended into the initial assemblage to create the desired color and flavor. Rosés produced with the blending method are usually light in color.

Saignée Method
Literally “to bleed”, these rosés pick up their color by fermenting the grape juice with its own dark skin for a short period of time. Saignée rosés are made purely from the dark grapes (pinot noir or pinot meunier).

Rosé 101

Bryan tasting Hervy-Quenardel’s pinot noir only 21 hours after the juice started fermenting with the skins.

Rosé Champagne Pairings
Light rosé - pair with prosciutto, spinach salad, or fresh goat cheese.
Medium-bodied rosé - pair with salmon, roast chicken, or a triple cream cheese.
Bold rosé - pair with red meat, dark chocolate, or berries.

The Rosé Spectrum

Rosé 101
Light & Dry
Perrot-Batteux et Filles Hélixe Rosé Premier Cru ($58) Elegant and crisp, this Champagne is 85% chardonnay from the chalky soils of the Côte des Blancs region. It has wonderful acidity and tartness, but also a hint of red berry fruit. Pop this bottle open while cooking dinner with your date; it’s wonderful on its own or with light appetizers.

Rosé 101 Fresh & Balanced
Grongnet Rosé ($49) Made from an equal blend of all 3 grapes, this rosé is balanced and fresh. It’s full of red berry and fruit flavors, but has a dry, tart finish. Paired with baked salmon, grilled vegetables, and fresh flowers, this cuvée is the perfect addition to a date night in.

Rosé 101Bold & Fruit-Forward 
Hervy-Quenardel Rosé de Saignée Grand Cru ($56) 100% pinot noir, this rosé is bold and beautiful. It’s packed with flavors of strawberry and a hint of tannin. The body is full, but still has notes of chalk and minerals. Save this rosé for dessert! It’s delicious on its own but even better paired with dark chocolate and strawberries.