In Bottle Sizes... Bigger is Better
|I often mention 'large format' bottles in these pages. There
are actually seventeen different standardized bottle sizes for wines and champagne. Large format refers to larger than the standard 750ml bottle size. The larger sized bottles are produced in
less quantity than the standard size bottle, and are typically worth more
than just double or whatever multiple of the contents of the price of the regular size bottle accounting for the increased cost of the oversize packaging. |
Champagne is most popular and common in using larger bottles. The magnum is a double sized bottle (1.5 liters) and is one of the best selling sized bottles for Champagne. Many California Cabernet Sauvignons, Red Bordeaux, and Red Burgundies are produced and collected in these larger formats.
It is generally accepted that wine will age better - longer, more gracefully and uniformly, in a large format bottle - hence their popularity with collectors. This is due to the smaller proportion of air in the vessel in relation to the proportion of wine.
Many of the larger format bottle sizes are named after Biblical kings, perhaps in reverence or remembrance to their size and stature.
There is also great novelty and fun in opening and serving a large bottle. Often for special occasions, one will have all the quests sign the label of a large bottle as the labels are proportionately larger with the large bottles.
See Rick's large format bottles, labels and large bottle feature in Wine Spectator Magazine.
The 17 Standard Bordeaux/California Bottle Sizes
Made for Sparkling Wine.
1/4 of a standard bottle
1/2 of a standard bottle
1 standard bottle
|MAGNUM||1.5 liters||Equal to 2 standard bottles.|
|DOUBLE MAGNUM||3 liters||Equal to 4 standard bottles.|
|JEROBOAM - This is what Champagne and Burgundy call their 3 liter bottles. Equal to 4 standard bottles.|
|REHOBOAM||About 4.5 liters.||Equal to 6 standard bottles.|
(Bordeaux / California wines)
|5 liters||Equal to about 6 3/4 standard bottles.|
|IMPERIAL||6 liters||Equal to 8 standard bottles.|
|METHUSALEM - This is what they call an "Imperial" in Champagne and Burgundy.|
This one is a case of wine in one bottle.
12 standard bottles.
Equal to 16 standard bottles.
12 to 16 liters
Depending on the country of origin this will be from 16 to 20 standard bottles.
PRIMAT / GOLIATH
67 standard bottles
|Big Bottle Display at Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou - |
St Julien Beychevelle, Bordeaux
|Birthyear vintage large format bottles |
Served at daughter Erin's wedding
|Six Liter Silver Oak Bonny's Vineyard 1990 |
in OWC - Serial #'s 41 & 44 -
Holding for son Alec's wedding
|Bottle Name||Bottle Equivalency||Capacity|
|Display of range of bottles offered at Moet Chandon Champagne House |
in Epernay, Champagne, France
|9 Liter Salmanazar|
Served at daughter