I have some leftover Champagne in the fridge from New Year’s. Should I be storing it in the cellar or even at room temperature instead?
Your restraint is impressive (leftover Champagne?).
No, you should leave that bubbly right where it is, assuming it’s not taking up precious space in your Frigidaire for more important cargo (if there can be such a thing). This is a timely question, as it happens. A scientific study recently concluded that refrigeration extends the shelf life of sparkling wines better than the alternatives you cite. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which is that wine should be kept away from the vibrations and dry environment of a fridge.
The study, published in the American Chemical Society Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, compared sparkling wines stored in the refrigerator compared with those stored at cellar and room temperatures. It found that the chilled wines, after two years, were virtually free of a browning compound known as 5-HMF, which develops in foods as they spoil. The results were deemed the same for Italian prosecco and Spanish cava, too.
And there’s a bonus to fridge storage: Your bubbly will be all set to go for any spontaneous celebratory occasion, and I don’t mean next Dec. 31.
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The Flavour Principle, by Lucy Waverman and Beppi Crosariol, was named best Canadian Food & Drinks Book in the 2014 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Published by HarperCollins.