Does Prosecco Go Off?
29th September 2021
When you buy a bottle of Prosecco, sometimes it will have a year on it, letting you know that it’s a vintage or even sometimes telling you when it was bottled, but it never gives you an expiration date, is it because there isn’t one? Let’s find out.
The simple answer would be that Prosecco like any Sparkling Wine (if not corked) will still be drinkable 100 years from now, but the real question is will it taste any good?
Prosecco is a Sparkling Wine made to be drunk within a couple of months, a year tops,, it’s made from the Glera grape, it is vinified quickly in stainless steel tanks, then additional sugar and yeast are added, and the second fermentation also takes place in the stainless steel tanks to create the bubbles, although made using the Charmat (Tank) Method rather than the Classic (Champagne) Method, it is still a glass full of dancing bubbles, no matter how you make your Sparkling Wine, they all end up at the same basic result of a fizzy wine, but it’s Champagnes that gain that “leave it to age and it’ll taste even better” mentality, why?
Whenever you want to leave a Champagne to age, it’s best to use a vintage, a collection of grapes grown solely in that one year, now you can leave your vintage Champagne to age for decades, I once enjoyed a bottle of 1966 Champagne in the fabulous village of Aÿ in the Champagne region, it tasted truly astonishing, but it was flat, no dancing bubbles around my glass.
Now I’ve also heard that you should get your hands on an English Vintage Sparkling Wine and let that age for a good few years, even 10 years plus before you open it, so trying to connect the dots between the two, Champagne and English Sparkling Wine to see what makes them so age-worthy, is it because they are both made using the Classic (Champagne) Method, is that what makes a Champagne and English Fizz worth leaving for a few good years before enjoying?
Finding The Aging Prosecco
It’s clear and evident that two ingredients to making a Sparkling Wine immortal are the Classic (Champagne) Method and a good Vintage. Now Prosecco is produced using the Charmat (Tank) Method, so we don’t have the Classic Method on our side, but we are seeing more and more Vintage Prosecco’s hitting the market, so does this mean that these bottles can be aged for a few years, or even for a couple of decades?
Keeping a bottle of Champagne to age for a long time, requires the right conditions and a little bit of luck, keeping a bottle of Prosecco requires the right conditions and a lot of luck, as Prosecco is made to be drunk within a couple of months and it is made using a higher sugar to acid ratio, which makes the lifeline of Prosecco shorter than other Sparkling Wines, so there is a high probability that when you open your bottle of Prosecco in 10 years time, it will most likely taste flat, vinegary or dull tasting, but, it would still drinkable. But you could also be lucky, and it tastes rather similar to when it was first bought.
Can Drinking Aged Prosecco Make You Sick? Drinking a 10 year old Prosecco shouldn’t give you an upset tummy or any kind of food poisoning, the only time where this could be possible is if the Prosecco has reacted very badly with the cork and thus becoming corked, but even corked wines you can drink, so it’s very unlikely, but just giving you a warning in case.
Keeping a bottle of Prosecco for 1, 2 or even 3 years, won’t necessarily ruin the tasting experience, we’ve kept a couple of bottles of Prosecco for aging purposes, and after 3 years of storage, the Prosecco I tried, still gave off similar aromas and flavours that it did 3 years ago, it’s always a risky challenge to try and age Prosecco, but not an impossible task.
What Are The Right Condition To Store Prosecco? Like storing any Sparkling Wine, you should keep it in a cool dark location, somewhere away from sunlight and with a relatively constant humidity, changing from hot to cold conditions won’t do the bottle any favours, you should also keep the bottle horizontal, lying down on its side, so that the Prosecco inside the bottle is keeping contact with the cork, because if the cork dries out and shrinks, it could allow oxygen inside the bottle which can ruin the Prosecco or any other Sparkling Wine.
So to answer the question Does Prosecco Go Off? The answer is yes, it can and sometimes will lose its unique flavours, leaving it too long creates the possibility that the Prosecco will become flat and dull tasting, it will still be drinkable, but maybe not very enjoyable, unless you get lucky.
WSET 2 Journalist focused on sharing Champagne and Sparkling Wine reviews and cocktails to the world.