Big Is Better

Big is Better

There are some moments when a glass of champagne is just the thing to enjoy on your own. Then again it’s the perfect drink for a romantic evening with your partner, but above all champagne is known the world over as THE wine to choose for a party

Now, a bottle of champagne only contains about 6 glassfuls so it doesn’t need many people at your party to finish the bottle. Clearly 1 lonely bottle isn’t going to be anywhere near enough, but instead of buying a case, or two, of ordinary sized bottles, why not buy magnums instead?

A magnum is a double bottle and although it’s usually a little bit more expensive than buying 2 bottles, there are some very good reasons to go for magnums:

First there’s the wine itself.
Part of the ageing process for champagne involves the interaction between the air in the neck of the bottle and the wine that fills the rest of the bottle.

 If you look carefully at a magnum you’ll see that there is twice as much liquid as in a bottle but only a little bit more air. This means that the whole ageing process is slowed down.

So magnums spend longer in the champagne-maker’s cellar than normal sized bottles and this extra ageing means the flavours and aromas in a magnum are always that little bit richer, rounder and more complex – try it and I’m sure you’ll notice the difference.

Another very good reason to choose magnums over bottles is that they look so much more impressive. If you want your pary to be a stylish occasion, (and who doesn’t?) then magnums are just what you need to make your party stand out from the others.

Of course you can get even bigger bottles of champagne. The biggest of them all is called a Nebuchadnezzar.

( I’ve never found out for sure why all the big bottles in champagne are called after kings of ancient Persia. One story is that those kings from long ago represented the height of opulence – just the thing for champagne –  but I suspect there may be other reasons. If anyone knows another reason please leave a comment.)

Anyway a Nebuchadnezzar holds the equivalent of 20 normal bottles. It takes 3 people to handle one of these: two to hold the body of the bottle and one to hold the neck steady to pour. Not very practical, but they sure look impressive.

The other sizes in descending order are
Balthasar 16 bottles
Salmanazar 12 bottles
Mathusalem  8 bottles
Jeroboam  4 bottles
Magnum    2 bottles
Bottle   1 bottle
The two smallest sizes are great for those unexpected moments when a glass of champagne seems to be just the thing, but you need to drink them up soon after buying them. They don’t keep for long, but how long to keep champagne is something to discuss another time....