Friday, June 6, 2008

"When Big Is Better"

Large Capacity Wine Bottles

While most people are most familiar with 750 mL full-size bottles and 375 mL half-bottles, one occasionally encounters bottle names that sound vaguely Biblical (aside of invoking a mental image of a large caliber handgun).

The larger capacity bottle sizes contain volumes in multiples of the standard 750 mL full-size bottle. These sizes can be as large as 50 liters (67 standard bottles) but such bottles are very rare. It is not clear just how these large capacity bottles came to be used, but they offer the advantage of greater longevity - since there is less air n the bottle, relative to the volume of wine.
Just when it seems that this subject is simple enough, it turns out a few of the names (taken from biblical kings of the Old Testament) can refer to different sizes, depending on wine making region. However, more often than not, producers around the globe follow the Burgundian nomenclature. So here goes:...


1X / 0.75L Standard, Full size.

2X / 1.5L Magnum - universally used.

3X / 2.25L Marie-Jeanne - used in Bordeaux only.

4X / 3.0L Double Magnum - used in Bordeaux.

Jéroboam - used in Burgundy and Champagne.

6X / 4.5L Jéroboam - in Bordeaux.

Rehoboam - in Burgundy and Champagne.

8X / 6.0L Impériale - used in Bordeaux only.

Methusaleh - used in Burgundy and Champagne.

12X / 9.0L Salmanazar - used in Burgundy and Champagne.

16X / 12.0L Balthazar - used in Burgundy and Champagne.

20X / 15.0L Nebuchadnezzar - used in Burgundy and Champagne

Red Wine Buzz