Last week I had the pleasure of opening up a 2005 double magnum from WineShop At Home. I was thrilled with the taste. Deeply mature, well balanced and still very fruity, with a lot of dark berry notes. I am certain that had the wine been in a normal 750 ml bottle it wouldn’t have been nearly as good. In fact, it likely would have been past its prime. This article is devoted to learning why large wine bottles (also known as large format bottles) are so much better for aging than standard wine bottles.
Benefit #1: Large Wine Bottles Slow Down the Aging Process
Large wine bottles slow down the aging process, allowing wine to age more gracefully. The key reason: The space between the bottom of the cork and the wine’s surface, also known as the ullage, is the same regardless of the size of the bottle. With larger bottles, you have a much greater volume of liquid exposed to the oxygen from the cork. So the impact of oxygen is greatly reduced, thus reducing the likelihood of oxidation.
According to TheFineBubble, the slowing down of aging in large wine bottles is more pronounced for Champagne and Sparkling Wine than for still wine. They attribute this to two factors:
The carbon dioxide in sparkling wine, proposing that the carbon dioxide acts as a preservative, helping to keep it fresh.
Autolysis, the gradual breakdown of yeast cells, known as lees, providing the wine with its bubbles during second fermentation. The large wine bottles have proportionally more glass surface than standard bottles, allowing more contact between the lees on the inside of the bottle and the wine. This results in large bottles “displaying much more roundness as the wine ages and crucially, much more complexity.”
Benefit #2: Large Wine Bottles Offer Greater Protection
Large wine bottles protect your wine from the things that can damage it, including light, heat, temperature changes and travel-related vibrations. The larger bottles also have thicker glass than regular-sized bottles, which means greater protection. And the glass is typically dark green, rather than clear, which does a better job of keeping out the light.
Benefit #3: You Can Sometimes Find Unexpected Bargains
According to VInePair.com, “Most rosés are designed to be chugged during the current vintage; they start to lose value as they age. However, large format rosés will still taste fresh and fruity well beyond their vintage, since they aren’t aging as quickly as standard bottles. In turn, that can mean big deals as retailers try to offload enormous, happy bottles of rosé.”
Benefit #4: They Make Great Centerpieces
Large wine bottles are impressive. They set the tone for big celebrations, whether that be the Super Bowl, a big birthday party, an anniversary or something else.
At WineShop At Home, we sell personalized double magnums for $283. These are one of my all-time favorite gifts. If you’re interested in buying one, please let me know. Cheers!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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