New to the wonderful world of magnums? We have the 411 on large-format bottles that make the most of the Champagnes you love.
Fun Facts about Magnums
1. They’re optimal for aging.
You know the expression “let the wine breathe,” right? A little air exposure allows Champagne to come alive, revealing new aromas and flavors. But too much air is a problem. That’s because over time, oxidation—the exposure of wine to oxygen—degrades the quality and appearance of our beloved bubbly while also undoing that amazing effervescence we’re all obsessed with. It’s about the ullage—the small air space between the cork and the liquid contents of a container. The greater the wine-to-ullage ratio, the more rapid the oxidation. So it stands to reason that the bigger the bottle, the less Champs-to-ullage ratio we’ve got going on. The results: an aged wine that’s both more complex and more youthfully fresh than its smaller-bottle brethren. Put another way, large-format fizz is the Jeff Goldblum of aged Champagne.
2. They aren’t the biggest bottles on the block.
From a 187.5-militier split to the massive 18-liter Solomon, wine bottles range from pocket size to we’re-gonna-need-a-bigger-shopping-cart. At 1.5 liters, magnums are the smallest of the large-format bottles—defined as anything larger than the standard 750-milliliter container.
From there, things get biblical. For reasons lost to history, the largest format bottles are all named for bible kings. Jeroboam, who in the big book actually worked for Solomon before taking the throne, lends his name to a three-liter wine bottle—the equivalent of four standard ones. The war-like Salmanazar, meanwhile, lends his to a big boy that holds the equivalent of 12 bottles of Champagne. And the aforementioned Solomon? His eponymous 18-liter bottle is the equivalent of 24. Basically, it’s the bottle Goliath would have celebrated with had it not been for that pesky slingshot.
Photo credit: Luke McKinley and Brian Bosworth
3. They’re always handled by hand.
From bottling to disgorgement, large-format containers are always custom jobs, requiring producers to handle each step by hand. So when you buy a magnum or Jeroboam, you know the wine you buy will be made with the utmost attention and care. This is a fun fact to keep in mind when you’re popping a big boy for a special occasion—not only can everyone sip from the same bottle, you’re also toasting with something you know was made with love. Aw.
3. They’re a signal you’re getting the good stuff.
As we just learned, large-format bottles require lots of work and result in optimal aging. So it stands to reason that winemakers reserve their têtes de cuvée or other favored blends for the big guys. More symbolically, large-format bottles offer winemakers the opportunity to show off the wines of which they’re proudest. You know how when you blow up a photo to hang on the wall, you go with the one that shows all your best angles? Like that.
4. They’re not just for big occasions.
As we’ve mentioned, walking into any party, big or small, with a magnum guarantees you an entrance of cinematic grandeur. But no need to horde these larger fellas for special occasions.
The equivalent of about 10 full pours, 1.5-liter Magnums are great for a gathering of as few as six moderate souls, or about four, er, quaffing enthusiasts. At three liters, a Jeroboam is best for parties of 12 temperate types, eight bon vivants, or about 2.5 fatcork staffers. And if you ask us, they belong everywhere, at all times. Start a Magnum Friday ritual with your work team. Bring one along to your monthly book club. Heck, invite the neighbors over for magnum pours on a random Tuesday and you can bet they won’t complain next time your labradoodle goes on a barking jag. Large-format Champagne turns any occasion—small, big, fun, or annoying—into a total joyfest. Celebrate every day!
5. We’ve got ‘em ready to go.
Excited to stock up on some big ole bottles? From brut rosé to blanc des blancs, the fatcork cave’s got large-format bottles ready to ship to your doorstep. But a word of warning: Magnums and Jeroboams have a way of selling out around here, especially as we edge closer to the holidays. Stock up now so you can pop big boys all the way to the new year.
What are you waiting for? Bring the party!