Does the size of a wine bottle matter?

28. Mai 2019 • News • Views: 21

Big bottle, great taste. For many wine enthusiasts larger size wine bottles are something very special. This demonstrates the auction sale at Christies nine years ago. A six liter bottle, called “Impériale”, from Château Cheval Blanc in Bordeaux was sold at an auction in Geneva for USD 304’375.

Before we’ll see the reasons why these large-format bottles are so desirable for many wine lovers, let’s have a look at the different sizes and their names. The names of the bottles can vary depending on the respective region:

  • 375ml Demi Bouteille
  • 750ml Bouteille (Standard Bottle)
  • 1.5l      Magnum
  • 3l         Double Magnum (in Champagne it is called „Rehoboam“)
  • 4.5l     Jeroboam
  • 6l        Impériale
  • 9l        Salmanazar
  • 12l      Balthazar
  • 15l      Nebukadnezar 
  • 18l      Melchior (in Burgundy and Champagne it is called Goliath)

Why are large bottles so desirable?

The wine in large-format bottles ages better

Wine ages as air moves in and out of the cork. A wine’s evolution in the bottle is therefore largely a result of the interaction of the liquid itself with oxygen. With large bottles, you’ve got the same bottleneck as a standard bottle but a much larger volume of wine. The result is that the wine ages much slower than their 750ml counterparts achieving its ultimate peak of maturity. So, many wine makers typically portion part of their best wines into larger bottles.

Durability

Large bottles are made with thicker mostly dark green glass that protects the wine from negative influences such as light, heat and vibrations from shipping.

Impressive and versatile

No matter which occasion, whether a birthday party or an evening with good friends large bottles are impressive. And leftover magnum or larger bottles are a nice base for creative home decoration projects. As lamps, candle holders, or vases. There’s almost no limit to where your imagination can take you.

A helpful tool: decanting machines

For the really large size wine bottles, there are specialized decanting machines (like cradles), that can hold the bottle and assist you with pouring the wine in the glass or into a decanter.

Decanter for big bottles. Source: VCanter, 2019

Try it out! I am excited about your thoughts!

Cheers,
Frauke

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