Oenologie - Le vin en grande bouteille (Magnum, Jeroboam …) a-t-il un goût différent ? - Les Grappes

Does wine in large bottles (Magnum, Jeroboam ...) taste different?

Usually, wine is consumed in 75 cl bottles . Can the taste vary according to the size of the bottle?

Why ¾ a liter and not a liter?

As for the quarter pounder in the famous "Pulp Fiction", the reason is the metric system. Indeed, the economic exchanges of the Bordeaux wine trade with England had a strong influence on the capacities in the world of wine. The English unit of the time was the imperial gallon, which was exactly equivalent to 4.54609 L. To facilitate conversions during transactions in the Gironde estuary, the wine was stored in 225-litre barrels or 50 gallons, a strategic value, because in addition to being adapted to the size and strength of men, 4 barrels were worth 900 litres and therefore a cask (another English unit of measurement).

What does this have to do with our 75 cl?

As I have just told you, the Bordeaux barrel is 225 litres, or 300 bottles of 75 cl, and this again to make the accounts easier. This volume has lasted because it is relatively practical, blaming itself for the average daily consumption of a household, even if today we would be closer to the average consumption of a barrel.one glass per person per day in France, which explains the emergence of BIBs (Bag in box = cubis) which are hermetic and can be consumed over a longer period of time.

But if this volume is so practical, why do these other formats with their often biblical names exist?

In addition to the festive and original side of the large bottles, they allow a better conservation of the wine.
There are two main reasons for this: better oxygenation, lower sensitivity to microbial, bacterial and yeast deviation.The slower oxygenation of large volumes will allow a slower evolution, and, it is well known that you have to take your time to produce quality wines.

But why?

To explain this phenomenon, we will compare the bottle to the magnum (1.5L). The empty space formed between the base of the cork and the wine is relatively larger for the bottle, indeed the magnum is wider than the bottle but the neck is approximately the same size. The surface of contact is thus the same for a volume twice as big, the exchanges with oxygen are thus slower in the magnum. This slowed degradation of the phenolic compounds by the oxygen then favours a better ageing of the beverage by prolonging the life of the wine and the finesse of the maturing in bottle in your cellars. Large containers also have another advantage to their credit; as the volume contained is greater, the wine is less sensitive to deviation.

But what is aquo?

Wine is a living product, and certain reactions that can take place within the bottle are harmful (bacteria, yeast, micro-organism, oxidation). These accidents are less likely to develop the greater the volume, it is the mass effect. A nest of bad bacteria will be much less likely to develop in a nebuchodonosor (15 litres) than in a half-bottle: the mass outweighs the minute.

It is the same for the "small" vintages elaborated by the winegrowers. The volumes to be vinified being less, the risks of deviation are greater. So I take my hat off to them.

To a certain extent we can therefore say that wine in large bottles has a different taste, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that large bottles favour the expression of wines for laying down.

This advantage has a cost: Bottling tools are standardized for the production of classic bottles, so it costs more to produce large volumes. So don't be surprised if your magnum costs you more than 2 bottles. Very large containers will cost even more, as the winemaker will have to use a service provider or manual setting.

The very large bottles also have their defect; can you imagine serving a table with an 18-litre bottle weighing more than 20 kilos without pouring half of it on the table or even on the guests? Mission Impossible.

The wine contained in these different containers is the same, even if the large containers have a better aptitude for aging, the difference may not be obvious. All the more so if the wine is drunk young. I therefore recommend large containers for wines with medium to long ageing potential in order to surprise and amaze your guests at your future dinners, who will then see you as a true wine insider for sure.

Edouard Cazals (for Les Grappes)

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