At Mumm Napa, we see every day as a great day for bubbles. But that’s not to say that every bottle of sparkling gets popped the day it enters your home. In fact, if you’re a sparkling wine fan, you’ll probably have a few bottles on standby, waiting for an excuse as predictable as a birthday or as spontaneous as a visit from a new neighbor.
The good news is, most sparkling wines age quite well over a few years or more. Our Brut Reserve, for instance, ages nicely for up to eight years (though here’s hoping you find many reasons to drink it sooner).
Which brings us to our main question, and probably yours, too: is there a “right way” to store sparkling wine? According to Head Winemaker Ludovic Dervin, the answer is yes. It all comes down to temperature, light, and the angle at which you keep the bottle.
“The most important thing is to keep sparkling at a consistent temperature, between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit,” Ludo says. The cooler temperature allows sparkling to age slowly. “This slowness will really bring out a sparkling wine’s full bouquet,” Ludo explains.
If you don’t own a cooling unit, look for a relatively dark, secure spot, even if it means the corner of a closet. And be sure to chill your bubbles before serving—the fastest way is a nice bath of ice.
The second most important thing is to keep sparkling away from light as much as possible. While natural light contains a certain amount of UV rays, absorbing too much for a prolonged period can trigger chemical reactions that affect sparkling wine’s taste.
Then there’s the matter of horizontal or vertical storage. The main reason people store wines horizontally is to keep the cork moist. This is less of a concern with sparkling wines, due to the pressure of the headspace and the compressed cork. Still, Ludo says that if you wish to age sparkling for three years or more, your best bet is to store it horizontally, if possible.
Using these three rules on temperate, light, and tilt, you’ll be able to keep bottles on hand for all the occasions in store for you. Plus, when you age a sparkling correctly, a range of new notes—from finer fruits to subtle hints of caramelization and creaminess—emerge. Imagine how they’ll pair with fresh seafood, hearty Italian dishes, artisan cheeses, gourmet chocolates, or just about anything called for by your imagination or the moment.