Wine Bottles: Size Matters

     They say you can tell a lot about a man by the size of his shoes.

     Ahem, but does the same hold true for wine bottles?


     Take the magnum, as an example. The magnum (or mag, for short) holds two standard-sized bottles of wine, or a total of 1.5 liters. In a supermarket… or a drug store with a liquor license… one generally should avoid this size, as it’s typically used for bottom-of-the-barrel wines. You get a lot of wine for the money, but the wine usually isn’t very good.

     In France, however, magnums and bottles that are even larger are symbols of quality.

     When sealed properly, wine stored in larger bottles will age gracefully for longer periods of time. For those who can afford it, the magnum is the preferred size for the outstanding bottlings of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne.

     There are more than a dozen wine bottle sizes, ranging from the split (which you may be served in coach class on an airplane) at 187-ml. to the Nebuchadnezzar, which seldom is seen outside of the Champagne region and holds the equivalent of 20 standard-size bottles. Larger bottles have been made over the years, but they’re typically one-offs produced for special occasions.

     The largest bottle ever made held the equivalent of 173 bottles, and was dubbed “Maximus.” It was commissioned for a charitable auction.

     The Czech glassblower’s shoe size is not known.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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