Pete Stew­art and Andy Gemmell

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Food + Drink -

As we ap­proach the party sea­son, it’s a great idea to look at larger for­mat bot­tles. Mag­nums (one and a half litres) look im­pres­sive, and they’re ideal for thirsty gath­er­ings.

Per­haps more im­por­tantly, wine in a larger bot­tle will age bet­ter than the same wine in a stan­dard sized bot­tle. This is due to the ‘ul­lage’, which is es­sen­tially the space at the top of the bot­tle. Hav­ing a smaller amount of air be­tween the cork and the wine will al­low the wine to age more grad­u­ally and there­fore de­velop more com­plex­ity over time.

So, how big can you go? Sizes run from quar­ters (187.5ml) through to the mag­nif­i­cent Melchizedek which holds an im­pres­sive and chal­leng­ing thirty litres. Apart from mag­nums, you’ll re­ally only find larger for­mats in spe­cial­ist wine mer­chants. Dou­ble mag­nums (three litres) are known as Jer­oboams in the Cham­pagne and Bur­gundy re­gions. But con­fus­ingly, in Bordeaux, Jer­oboams con­tain four and a half litres (this size in Cham­pagne and Bur­gundy is called a Re­hoboam).

Prosecco Barocco Mag­num (In­ver­ar­ity One to One, £21.99). The Barocco is a soft, ap­proach­able fizz from Veneto made us­ing the tank method of sparkling wine pro­duc­tion. You can call it the ‘metodo Ital­iano’ if you’re feel­ing more con­ti­nen­tal. This re­sults in a lighter mousse (posh term for the level of fizzi­ness) in the glass mak­ing the Prosecco a very easy to drink aper­i­tif.

Carta Roja Monas­trell Grand Reser­vada Ju­milla 2010 Mag­num (Sains­bury’s, £11). I prom­ise that’s not a mis­take, this ex­cel­lent wine now comes in a one and a half litre bot­tle for just £11. Try this with a bowl of hot, spicy chilli.

Wood­stock The Stocks 2012 Dou­ble Mag­num (In­ver­ar­ity One to One, £175, ex­tremely lim­ited avail­abil­ity). Wood­stock’s prop­erty in McLaren Vale bor­ders the very fa­mous d’Aren­berg es­tate and their flag­ship wine might just be the new Dead Arm. A bold state­ment in­deed, but the Stocks is just that good. And, it’s also avail­able in stan­dard sized bot­tles. Cheers!

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