Was at a friend’s home for dinner the other night. He wanted to open something special but suspected it may have gone bad. He was correct, as soon as the cork was supposed to be “popped” it let out a slight whimper of “psss” and came out with no pressure. After he found it, it was put the kitchen refrigerator for a few hours before we came for dinner. He wanted me to write a story as this $230 to $500 Champagne promptly went down the drain and does not want anyone else to suffer this kind of loss.
Here is how this came about. They were given this bottle as a gift approximately 16-18 years before. It was stored in their basement wine racks. While generally a constant 66 degrees, but with no formal temperature or humidity control. It remained there for about 12 years. About 4 years ago they moved to our neighborhood but had yet to get a wine refrigerator. They stored it upright under their bar sink. It remained there for 4 years until he accidentally found it. The new home area in the summertime gets to between 90 to 100 degrees for about 4 to 4 ½ months and has very low humidity.
He has since secured a nice wine refrigerator and will not make that mistake again. As he lamented when he found the hidden bottle, that “I had probably just destroyed a very good bottle of bubbly”. He concluded with “What a shame. I am sure it would have been spectacular!”
So in the end the key elements of keeping wine are fairly simple:
*Keep the temperature constant with a condenser of between 55 to 58 degrees
*Keep the humidity between 50 to 70%
*Store the wine out of visible and reflective sunlight as UV will harm the wine
*Minimize the movement of the wine
An expensive lesson learned and one not soon forgotten nor to be repeated by my friend. We were all looking forward to tasting this Champagne. Fortunately we did have a few others nice bottles to enjoy!!