What's the Best Way to Store Chardonnay?
Store It in a Cool PlaceIdeally, your chardonnay would always be stored at a temperature between 55-60F with a serving temp of a chilled 48F. This type of white wine should always be kept cold, but not too cold, in order to preserve the true essence of the grapes. A chardonnay that is kept in warm conditions will not age to its potential. If the wine is too cold or too warm, much of the fresh or fruity flavors will be lost.
If you are storing your wine in a place that is not as cool as is recommended, use your kitchen fridge to chill the bottle for two hours, taking it out about thirty minutes before the first pour. Wine should not be stored in a regular kitchen refrigerator for extended periods of time as these temperatures are typically too cold.
Keep It Away From LightDirect sunlight can make the temperature of the bottles fluctuate causing a chardonnay to age more quickly and lose its flavor. But even if the temperature can be maintained, sunlight brings UV rays which can degrade wine over time.
Light from interior house bulbs will not affect the wine directly, however when wines are kept in the home and in high-traffic areas, they are more likely to have temperature fluctuations and too much handling can disturb the sediments in the bottle. For your wine to age favorably, location is key. Keeping your chardonnay in a cabinet, the garage, basement, or an unused dark closet is a great placeholder if you don't yet have a cellar or wine cooler.
Limit MovementIt's easy to think your wine bottles aren't being handled regularly or getting sloshed around, but bottles that are kept on the counter or in a dining room are often moved out of the way or picked up to have their labels admired. When chardonnay is handled too often, its molecular structure can change, especially during the maturation process. This causes the wine to lose its flavor and depth.
When storing it out of common areas, be sure to keep it away from vibrations. Even subtle movements such as those that come from being too near the laundry machines, on top of the kitchen fridge, or near the speakers of a sound system can disturb the aging and combination of flavors.
Lay the Bottle on Its SideYou may have noticed that wine racks, dedicated wine walls, wine fridges, and wine cellars have one thing in common: they are designed to store the bottles horizontally. While this is definitely a space-saving technique, it is actually better for the bottles.
If your chardonnay has a natural cork, you will need to lay it flat to keep the cork from drying out, prolonging the life of the wine. When the cork is wet, you can be sure the amount of oxygen seeping into the bottle is minimal, preserving its integrity. Bottles with plastic corks or screw caps do not pose the same risk, although side-lying is the most efficient way to store your collection.
Know Your Wine's VintageKnowing the year in which the grapes for your chardonnay were harvested will help you always drink your wine at the proper time. The ideal time to enjoy your bottle of chardonnay is soon after receiving it, as white wines are at their freshest upon the time of release and are best enjoyed close to their harvest. An older chardonnay will create its own unique, richer taste as the fruitiness fades.
If you do not intend on consuming your bottle in the near future, the vast majority of mass-produced chardonnay's can be placed in storage for 2-3 years. Those fortunate connoisseurs with a top-quality bottle will be able to hold on to theirs for 5-7 years.
How to Store an Open Bottle of Chardonnay
An open bottle of chardonnay should be stored properly in a wine cooler or kitchen refrigerator, and it will last for 3-5 days in the fridge after opening. The key to ensuring your wine maintains its integrity once opened is to take the time to see that the bottle is properly corked.
To retain its qualities, corking a bottle tightly and promptly is essential. This can be done with the original cork if it will fit snuggly back into the bottle's neck, or with a rubber wine stopper which is designed to maintain a tight seal. Vacuum pumps are also a great option as they pull all of the air out of the bottle before sealing, ensuring the freshest taste and extending the open bottle's shelf life.
Do You Drink Chardonnay Cold?
Yes chardonnay should be served cold, at a temperature of 48F/8.89°C. You shouldn't drink chardonnay at room temperature or when it's warm.
Chardonnay should be chilled in a proper wine fridge to 48F, as domestic fridges tend to be cooler than that.
How Long Does Chardonnay Last?
For the average bottle of Chardonnay it will be best to drink it immediately, or within the 6 months of its release. The average bottle of chardonnay will likely only be drinkable for 2-3 years after purchase.
However, if you're storing the best quality chardonnay in optimal storage conditions, you can expect them to last for a decade or more - just understand that the fruity tasting notes will fade, and be replaced with the notes of spice and earthy fragrances.
What's The Best Serving Temperature for Chardonnay?
The best serving temperature for chardonnay is 48F/8.89°C. This is because some of the flavors are lost if you serve it at room temperature or too cold.
Wine Storage Solutions
Deciding where to store your wines can be a challenge. Using a shelf in the garage or a spare closet may work for a while, but the long-term risk of improper storage may damage the investment you've put into your wines. Not to mention the frustration of never having a properly chilled bottle of chardonnay when you need it.
To maintain the ideal conditions to protect your collection, consider a wine cooler designed to give your bottles their perfect living conditions. Wine cellar cooling units have proven to be the most space-saving and accommodating wine storage available. With the flexibility of placing them anywhere in the home, you'll no longer worry if the storage area is aging your wines or if the bottle will chill in time; your fine wines will always be presentable, flavorful, and chilled to perfection.
Whether you have a large, full collection of wines in your own personal cellar, or if you're just starting to become familiar with chardonnay, it's important to know how to get the most out of every bottle. Contact Wine Cellar Headquarters today to find out how we can help with your wine-cooling needs.
We also have a related article on the best wine cellar cooling units here.