A sparkling Chardonnay should ideally be consumed soon after opening it and not left for the next day. If left for overnight, it’ll inevitably have lost some of its bubbly and crispness. Still Chardonnay wines might last up to 5 days if they’re properly sealed and refrigerated, but that’s still pushing its limits. Try to drink it within four days of opening it when possible, or purchase smaller bottles always to enjoy a fresh Chardonnay.
Chardonnay is a vast category of wine because there’s no universally accepted style of Chardonnay across the globe. It’s a white wine made from the Chardonnay grape, and beyond that, its flavor notes, oakiness, and body can differ wildly from wine to wine. Because of this, some Chardonnay wines keep better in the fridge than others.
How Long Does Chardonnay Last Once Opened (Screw Top vs. Cork)?
As long as you’re able to reseal the bottle, there shouldn’t be a major difference between screw tops and corks. A Chardonnay with a screw-top might keep its freshness a tad bit longer. But whether this difference is significant enough to reach for a different brand of Chardonnay is up to you.
Screw tops face some discrimination because a cork is the traditional method of sealing a wine bottle. They increased in popularity when big companies started mass-producing wine. If you know a wine connoisseur or two (or you’re the wine connoisseur), you probably understand the stigma of deviating from corking a bottle to using more modern methods.
However, for white wines like Chardonnay, a screw-top actually keeps the bottle fresher for longer before it reaches consumers like you. Corks let in a tiny bit of air that red wines can benefit from, whereas this is typically detrimental for white wines.
Screw tops also don’t cause “cork taint” in wines, which is when a cork reacts with the wine and changes its flavor. We don’t know for sure how common cork taint is because not everyone can detect the sometimes subtle change in flavor, but it can be anywhere from 1% to 7% of wine.
What Can I Do to Make Chardonnay Last Longer?
After purchasing a bottle of Chardonnay, store it in a cool and dark place. Sunlight isn’t its friend. You also want to lay the bottle on its side, especially if it has a cork because this keeps the cork from drying out and letting in air. Some people believe you need to lay the wine on its side to more easily see if it’s forming sediment as it ages.
This isn’t entirely necessary unless you’re storing a Chardonnay for years and curious to watch the process. Sediment is harmless and just a byproduct of aging wine.
Not all Chardonnays should be aged, of course. Some are meant to be consumed within a year of hitting the supermarket shelf.
What Should I Do Immediately After Opening Chardonnay to Make it Last Longer?
If you’re done with the wine, replace the cork or screw top and put it in the fridge standing up. Try to place it somewhere that it won’t be regularly jostled. The door of the refrigerator looks mighty convenient. However, trust that having your family open and shut the fridge a dozen times before noon does nothing good for the freshness of your wine.
It’s best to drink sparkling Chardonnay right away. Like a 2 liter bottle of soda, it’s perfect immediately after being opened. It deteriorates from there, but cold temperatures can slow this process a little bit.
Like all wines, Chardonnay has an expiration window once it’s uncorked. Even hours after initially opening it, you might detect small changes in its taste. If you can’t consume it immediately, do so within four days for optimal freshness, unless it’s a sparkling wine, in which case 1 day is likely best. However, if the changes in its taste or texture don’t bother you, stale wine isn’t harmful.