Most people have heard of a magnum of champagne, a few a Jeroboam, but what about the other sizes of bottle?
Here goes …
- Quarter bottle, Split or Piccolo – ‘small’ in Italian – (187.5 or 200 ml) – perfect for one.
- Half bottle – Demi ‘half’ in French – (375ml)
- Bottle – Imperial (750ml) The standard size of a bottle of wine or champagne.
- Magnum (1.5 litres) The equivalent of 2 bottles.
- Jeroboam (3 litres) The equivalent of 4 bottles. However, it is important to note that “Jeroboam” can indicate different sizes in different regions in France.
- Rehoboam (4.5 litre) Equal to 6 bottles.
- Methuselah (6 litre) 8 bottles
- Salmanazar (9 litre) 12 bottles.
- Balthazar (12 litre) 16 bottles.
- Nebuchadnezzar (15 litre) 20 bottles – or around 120 glasses!
- Melchior (18 litre) 24 bottles.
- Solomon (25 litre) 33.3 bottles.
- Sovereign (26.2 litre) – Reportedly created by Taittinger in 1988 to coincide with the launch of the Sovereign of the Seas cruise liner – then the world’s largest cruise liner.
- Primat (or Goliath, 27 litre) 36 bottles.
- Melchizedek (or Midas, 30 litre) a whopping 40 bottles!
As can be seen from the above list – many traditional wine bottle sizes are named after Biblical kings and historical figures – presumably to imitate the impressive size of the larger bottles. However, in reality, the larger bottles are difficult to carry, difficult to open and even more difficult to pour.
Still wines can actually benefit from being stored in magnum bottles. Oxidation occurs more slowly and so they age at a slower pace. However, for Champagne a large bottle reduces the effectiveness of the secondary fermentation phase, and so can diminish the quality of the wine. Because of this larger bottles are often filled from standard size bottles prior to serving. Plus, if you happen to be at the end of the queue for a glass – you are likely to find yourself sipping flat champagne. Personally we’d rather preserve the fizz and buy more smaller bottles!