Wines in large format: magnum, jeroboam, methusalem and co.

A normal bottle of wine holds 0.75 liters. I think everyone knows that. And even half bottles with only 0.375 liters of content knows one or the other of sweet wines. Magnum bottles are becoming increasingly popular, so it hardly needs to be mentioned that they in turn have twice the capacity of a normal bottle. But there are a number of other large formats, which our colleague Sven Reinbold would like to explain below.

Magnum bottle: the classic among large formats

As already mentioned, a magnum bottle offers double wine or sparkling wine enjoyment. Good to know: The designation is used equally for Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne bottles. As the examples in the following show, differences do exist, which are mainly related to the bottle shapes.

Buy magnum bottles at wine friends

Jeroboam or double magnum: no uniformity

If you can remember that a magnum holds 1.5 liters, you also know the capacity of a double magnum; namely 3 liters. But beware: Bordeaux bottles with a capacity of 3 liters are called double magnum, but in Burgundy and Champagne the format is called jeroboam. But it only gets really complicated when you know that the term Jeroboam also exists in Bordeaux. Then, however, it stands for a wine bottle with 5 liters content.

Methusalem and Imperiale: Bordeaux and Burgundy send their regards

The inconsistency of France’s prestigious wine regions unfortunately continues when it comes to bottles with a capacity of 6 liters: In Bordeaux, a 6-liter wine bottle is called an Imperiale; in Burgundy and also in Champagne, it is called a Methusalem. And even though you rarely get to see bottles like this, it’s still a nice piece of bragging knowledge.

It goes even bigger: giant formats

Melchior, Balthazar, Salmanazar and Nebuchadnezzar – that spontaneously sounds like the Holy Four Kings. But these are also terms that describe other large formats, indeed giant formats in terms of wine bottles. A Salmanazar holds 9 liters, a Balthazar 12 liters and a Nebuchadnezzar bottle 15 liters. And in Bordeaux in Burgundy as well as in Champagne. At the top of the large formats there is again dissent: The 18-liter giant bottle is called Melchior in Bordeaux, in Burgundy and Champagne it is called Salomon.

Especially through the differences between Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne helps our compact overview of the different bottle sizes in the chart below.

Wine bottle shapes

Advantage of large sizes: Wine matures slower

Clearly, large bottles hold a plus in terms of content. This makes wine bottles in XXL format a practical and at the same time attention-grabbing affair, especially when tasting many thirsty wine lovers.

But there is something else at stake. Something that interests especially collectors of high quality drops: The larger the bottle, the less oxygen there is between the cork and the wine. At least proportionally considered. As a result, wine matures more slowly in large bottles than in normal 0.75 liter bottles or even half bottles.

By the way: In the Weinfreunde Shop there are a number of wines available in magnum format.

Sven Reinbold For Sven, wine is part of his DNA. Our chief buyer comes from a family of winegrowers from the Kaiserstuhl region and has studied wine business management: by origin and profession, he is a wine expert. Personally, he fancies white wines from Italy, but his red love is the Rhone and Burgundy.

By phone: 0221 – 97 58 42 40 from Mon-Fri, 9 am – 6 pm (except holidays) or by mail: [email protected]

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