Christies Real Estate Magazine



Will it be a magnum or a nebuchadnezzar? When it’s time to celebrate it’s time to open the showstopper bottles Words LAURA BURGESS T he candles are lit, the table is set, and it’s time for the wine. But why waste hours opening well as Pomerol’s Château L’Évangile and Chile’s 100-point scoring Almaviva winery. “The wines from large formats tend to be fresher,” explains Prats. “The fruit would be BIG MAKE IT

bottle after bottle when you could pop a single cork and pour for the whole table? In the world of fine wine, there’s nothing more special than extra-large bottles, which not only set the scene for celebration, but offer an inimitable experience for guests and hosts alike. Popularized in Bordeaux, where the history of the magnum (equivalent to two standard bottles of wine) and larger bottles dates back to the 1800s, extra-large bottles do more than add pizzazz to intimate dinners and extraordinary parties. A spectacle whenever they’re shared, these wines are the ultimate investment in pleasure: ideal for entertaining now, cellaring over the long term, or holding as liquid assets. “Large formats not only age better, but they are the very best way to celebrate in great company,” explains Jean-Guillaume Prats, chief executive of Domaines Barons de Rothschild, which operates the First-Growth estate Château Lafite Rothschild as

exploding, even more so if the vintage has some maturity.”

SIZE MATTERS These bottles have their unique size to thank for their advantages in the cellar: as wine ages, its flavors and aromas evolve from fresh, ripe fruit, and powerful spices to reveal subtle, secondary aromas as minute amounts of oxygen move through the cork. In large bottles, where there is more wine relative to the air that seeps through the cork, that development is slower, preserving the wine’s character and freshness. “You can really taste the difference,” explains Edwin Vos, Head of Wine, Continental Europe at Christie’s, who recommends opening standard bottles alongside magnums and double magnums when possible. “In a 10-year-old wine you’ll see a distinctive difference in the development.”

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