Can you drink 18 year old champagne?

Answered by Amado Berg

As a sommelier and brewer, I can confidently say that drinking an 18-year-old can be a delightful experience. Prestige champagnes, such as Blanc de Blancs from well-known producers like Champagne Salon, are specifically crafted to age gracefully and develop complex flavors over time. While many people tend to associate champagne with youthful effervescence, the truth is that these wines can evolve and improve with age.

One of the key factors that contribute to the aging potential of champagne is the high acidity levels. Champagne typically has a higher acidity compared to still wines, which acts as a natural preservative and allows the to age gracefully. This acidity helps to maintain the freshness and vibrancy of the wine, even after many years in the bottle.

When you open an 18-year-old champagne, you can expect to find a wine that has undergone significant changes during its time in the bottle. The primary fruit flavors may have mellowed out, giving way to more complex aromas and flavors. You may discover notes of toasted brioche, honey, nuts, and dried fruits, which have developed through the interaction of the wine with the during the aging process.

It is worth noting that not all champagnes are suitable for extended aging. Non-vintage champagnes, which are blends of multiple vintages, are generally not designed to age for extended periods. However, vintage champagnes, which are made from grapes harvested in a single exceptional year, often have more aging potential.

When considering whether to drink an 18-year-old champagne, it is important to assess the producer, the specific vintage, and the storage conditions. Champagne houses with a reputation for producing age-worthy wines, like Champagne Salon, are a good place to start. Additionally, certain vintages are known to be exceptional and have the potential to age well.

Proper storage conditions are also crucial for the long-term aging of champagne. The wine should be kept in a cool, dark place, ideally at a constant temperature between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit (10-13 degrees Celsius). Fluctuations in temperature and exposure to light can negatively affect the quality of the wine over time.

When it comes to actually drinking an 18-year-old champagne, it is important to have realistic expectations. While older champagnes can offer incredible complexity and nuance, they may also have lost some of their effervescence. This is a natural result of the aging process, as the carbon dioxide that creates the bubbles gradually dissipates over time. However, this should not deter you from enjoying the wine, as the flavors and aromas can still be truly remarkable.

An 18-year-old champagne can be a truly special and enjoyable experience. Prestige champagnes, when stored correctly and from exceptional vintages, have the potential to age fantastically well. So, if you have the opportunity to try an 18-year-old champagne, seize the moment and savor the unique flavors that time has bestowed upon the wine.