The bottle, in its broadest sense, has a fundamental role in the wine ageing and thus, its quality. The cylindrical shape was invented in 18th century in order to improve its conservation and storage. However, there is a significant variety of bottles size and BlogWines will introduce you this particularity which gives more choices than one can ever imagine!
A name for every bottle size
|Equivalent in 1 regular bottle||Capacity in liter||Capacity in us fl oz||Bordeaux||Champagne|
|0.5||0.375L||12.68 us fl oz||Fillette||Demi-Bottle|
|1||0.75L||25.36 us fl oz||Frontignan||Bottle|
|2||1.5L||50.72 us fl oz||Magnum||Magnum|
|3||2.25L||76.08 us fl oz||Marie-Jeanne||–|
|4||3L||101.44 us fl oz||Double-Magnum||Jeroboam|
|6||4.5L||152.16 us fl oz||Jeroboam||Rehoboam|
|8||6L||202.88 us fl oz||Imperiale||Mathusalem|
|12||9L||304.32 us fl oz||Salmanazar||Salmanazar|
|16||12L||405.76 us fl oz||Balthazar||Balthazar|
|20||15L||507.21 us fl oz||Nabuchodonosor||Nabuchodonosor|
|24||18L||608.65 us fl oz||Melchior||Salomon|
What is the effect of bigger bottles on the wine?
Whatever the capacity (0.75L, 1.5L or 12L), all the bottles have something in common: the bottleneck. It is actually not proportional with the bottle size. It can be narrow even if it is a nabuchonosor. Thus the wine surface which could potentially get in contact with air is pretty much the same than in a bottle of 0.75L or in a Jeroboam. Consequently, the bigger the bottle is, the less the oxidation effects will be effective, i.e. less the wine volum will be altered by the air and then will get to maturity later. This particularity suits well the vins de garde and champagne.
Which wines can be conserved in big bottles?
As mentionned above, the conservation in big bottles decreases the time effects. Hence, there is no need to conserve a wine which needs to be drink within 1 or 2 years. Except if you want a pure esthetic effect. This is the case, for instance, for the Magnums of Rose de Provence which appeared few years ago and have got very trendy. Beautiful and impressive bottles, they enhance its light color. But this is the only effect you can get. Unlike the vins de garde*, there will be no effect on the taste or wine itself. It is only nice to see.
The importance of the bottle shape
The size is one thing but the bottle shape counts as well. This is why there are different ones and usually one region has its own bottle shape. For instance, a bottle from Bordeaux would be more straight with high shoulder. This is the most common one. For the wines produced in Bourgogne or in la Vallée de la Rhône, they use heavier and more massive bottle. Wines from Alsace will be inversely conserved in bottle with flute shape.
Which occasion can you buy them for?
There are usually used for big events such as weddings or other parties gathering so that enough people can enjoy this kind of bottles. One other possibility, due to its prestige, it could also be an original gift which is always very appreciated!