Frequently asked questions
Why is there a difference in bubbles in some sparkling wines?
Bubbles differ for several reasons. Bubbles in a vintage champagne will generally be much more delicate and fine than a non vintage champagne. As champagnes age, particularly vintage champagnes, the bubbles tend to lose their vibrancy but the flavour of the champagne increases.
Bubbles in prosecco tend to be stronger and more noticeable – this is because the wine is much younger.
Bubbles can also look different depending on the size and shape of the flute. If a flute has not properly rinsed and detergent residue remains the sparkling wine might even look flat.
The best place to decide about bubbles is in your mouth. If the bubbles feel prickly and you are more aware of them than the flavour of the sparkling wine, this is generally not a good sign. If the bubbles are softer and caress your palate rather than being the most dominant feature of the fizz, this is a better quality bubble!
What is the correct temperature to a store champagne and to serve it at?
The ideal temperature to store champagne is between 7 and 10 degrees centigrade. This sort of temperature is not easy to achieve at home; a garage would be far too cold in winter and too hot in the summer and indoors it can be often be a bit warmer than that. If you don’t have suitable conditions we recommend not keeping the champagne more than a year. Store it under the stairs, or in a cupboard as the temperature will remain a little more constant here.
The main thing to avoid is any great change in temperature, this is worse than it being stored at say 15 degrees centigrade for example. Also store the bottle in the dark, (light can affect wine) and keep the bottle on it’s side to keep the cork moist (dry corks can shrink and let air into the bottle which can damage the wine) and keep away from vibration.
As for serving temperature – between 7 and 10 degrees centigrade is best. This can be achieved by putting the champagne in the fridge for 3-4 hours or in a bucket of half ice and half water for half an hour. We suggest that if you are having a party it’s best to chill it a bit too much rather than too little as it will warm up in peoples glasses.
What are you paying for when you you buy champagne as opposed to prosecco?
Champagne costs more than prosecco for the following reasons:
1. Prosecco grapes are cheaper than champagne grapes.
2. Making prosecco is a quicker process, so not as costly as champagne
3. Prosecco is not aged in the cellar like champagne (which has to be in the cellar an absolute minimum of 15 months before sale). This means prosecco producers can realise their profits more quickly and perhaps need fewer loans, therefore they don’t incur as many costs as champagne makers.
4. From a taste profile prosecco is a fruity, light, sparkling wine whereas with champagne you pay for a greater degree of flavours and complexity because of the long ageing process.
How long can I keep champagne?
We suggest no longer then a year -unless you can establish when it was disgorged (released from the cellar). Champagne is sold ready to drink and doesn’t really benefit from ageing in the bottle. So pop that cork!