Exploring the Dimensions of Wine Bottles: From Magnum to the Majestic Melchizedek

by | 20 Dec 2023 | Editorial

The world of wine is steeped in traditions and fascinating stories. One of the most interesting aspects concerns the sizes of bottles.

In this article, we will explore the historical and symbolic roots of wine bottle sizes, providing a unique perspective on celebrating wine throughout the centuries.

The Magic of Large Bottles and Their History:

In the refined universe of wine, the choice of names for bottle sizes is steeped in history and symbolism.

In the 19th century, the 750 ml bottle emerged to meet the needs of preservation and standardization. However, over the centuries, during festive periods, larger formats were sought, giving rise to evocative names inspired by biblical figures.

Fun Fact:
A fascinating aspect is related to the serving temperature. Larger-sized bottles contribute to superior wine aging due to reduced exposure to oxygen. The peculiarity of thermal inertia, which influences temperature change, adds an additional layer of charm to the serving moment, making the tasting experience more enveloping and satisfying.

The Magnum: Elegance and Aging

The Magnum, a 1.5-liter bottle whose name derives from the Latin “Magnum,” meaning “large,represents a widely appreciated choice for celebrating significant events. Recent studies indicate that this size provides optimal conditions for wine aging.

Fun Fact:

The popularity of this format can be attributed not only to its ease of bottling but also to its essential role in the optimal preservation of wine. The Magnum, with its imposing size, conveys a sense of grandeur and exclusivity, making it the ideal choice for gifts and special celebrations.

These bottles, produced in limited quantities, rise as true gems in the world of wine, capturing the attention of passionate collectors and investors in fine wines.

Why choose a Magnum over a standard bottle?

Here are two compelling reasons:

  1. Excellent preservation and prolonged evolution:
    The ratio between the surface exposed to oxygen and the volume of wine reaches perfection due to the dimensions of the neck and cork, similar to those of a standard bottle. This configuration results in a significant slowing micro-oxygenation, contributing to prolonging the wine or Champagne’s evolution period.
  2. Exclusivity in every drop:
    Thanks to its majesty and impressive weight, the Magnum stands out as a rare format. Owning one is an unequivocal sign of refined taste and appreciation for the excellence that the world of wine can offer.

Jéroboam and Réhoboam: Names from Ancient Tales

The Jéroboam, available in 3liter sizes for sparkling wines and in 4.5 or 5 liters exclusively for red wines (Jéroboam ancienne)). The word “JéroboamThe term ‘Jéroboam’ has been deliberately chosen by renowned Bordeaux producers, drawing inspiration from the well-known biblical figure Jeroboam, the first king of the Kingdom of Israel, described in the Bible as a rebellious ruler in the Old Testament. The choice to associate the term “Jeroboamwith larger-sized bottles, generally containing larger quantities of liquid compared to standard bottles, is strategic. This approach aims to emphasize the prestige of the wine, evoke a sense of nobility, and make the name easily recognizable for passionate consumers in the wine industry.

Similarly, the Réhoboam, with its 4.5-liter capacity, takes inspiration from the first king of Judah, Rehoboam., whose story is narrated in the first Book of Kings in the Bible. Its rarity, particularly evident in the French regions of Bordeaux and Burgundy, makes it a coveted object of desire among wine enthusiasts.

Mathusalem: A 6-Liter Bottle and a Centennial Life

TheMathusalem, with its6liter capacity, owes its name to Mathusalem, the son ofEnoch and the grandfather of Noah;who lived for 969 years according to the Bible, has become a symbol of unparalleled longevity.

The association of this name with an exceptionally large bottle is not surprising, considering its extraordinary aging potential. In addition to being a container for wine, the Mathusalem transforms into a symbol of persistence and timeless quality.

Salmanazar :the Excellences of Nine Liters

The Salmanazar, with its imposing 9 liters, evokes admiration not only for its grandeur but also for its name associated with the king Salmanazar.. This format, considered a rarity, is often found in prestigious French wine regions.

The origin of the nameSalmanazar In the oenological context, the origin of the name “Salmanazar” dates back to the 8th century B.C. during the reign of five Assyrian kings who shared this name. Among them, Salmanazar V holds particular importance, having reigned from 727 to 722 B.C. He made history with his conquests, including the invasion of Palestine and the defeat of Israel.

TheSalmanazar finds its origin in the historical pages of the Bible, connecting enology to ancient traditions and stories, creating a fascinating link between the past and present of bottles with illustrious names.

Balthazar:the Costly Excellence

TheBalthazar, with its 12-liter capacity, is associated with nighttime celebrations following victories in battles.

Balthazar, known as one of the Three Wise Men who went to pay homage to the infant Jesus, is commonly associated with Africa in traditional iconography. However, in the Bible, another Balthazar emerges, who might have inspired the name of this extraordinary bottle. The latter is portrayed as the last king of Babylon during the period of the city’s conquest by Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C.

Fun Fact:
A 12-liter bottle of Château Margaux from 2009 is for sale for $195,000. It is currently the world’s most expensive bottle!

Nabuchodonosor: A Rare Format

The Nabuchodonosor, with its 15-liter capacity, traces its roots to the famous king of Babylon, Nabuchodonosor II (605-561 B.C.), the son of Nabopolassar.. This sovereign ruled over a vast empire and distinguished himself as one of Babylon’s most illustrious rulers. Besides his political prestige, Nabuchodonosor was a magnificent builder, notably known for enriching Babylon and making it famous worldwide with his hanging gardens and magnificent enclosures.

Fun Fact:
The Nabuchodonosor bottle, a rare glass giant, is equivalent to 20 standard bottles of wine or champagne, offering approximately 120 glasses of delight. With dimensions of 75.7 centimeters in height and 22.4 centimeters in diameter, this majestic bottle presents practical challenges for both storage and service. Pouring from a bottle exceeding 10 kilograms can be complex, but sturdy sommeliers can manage it. However, to facilitate service, special tilting supports are available.

Salomon & Melchior:the Wise King and the King

The Salomon,is aan 18-liter Champagne bottle equivalent to 24 standard bottles of 0.75 liters. his format, also identical for Burgundy bottles, , takes the name of Melchiorwhen it comes to Bordeaux bottles, maintaining the 18-liter capacity.

TheMelchioris connected to the Wise King, presumed to come from Europe.

From another perspective, Salomon (Solomon), in the context of the Old Testament, was the king of Israel between 970 and 931 B.C. Endowed with remarkable gifts like wisdom and knowledge of languages, he is a figure mentioned in various books of the Bible. His wealth, harem, and relationship with the Queen of Sheba reached legendary proportions, contributing to associating the name Salomon with a figure of great importance and richness in biblical history.

Primat: Monumental Dimensions

ThePrimat with its 25 liters, is undoubtedly the sovereign.

The origin of the term “Primat” dates back to the Latin “primate,” meaning primacy. This format was introduced in 1999. Initially, this term indicated a title conferred to a caste of archbishops who enjoyed superior privileges compared to other bishops and archbishops in a specific region.

Fun Fact:
In 1999, Maison Champagne Drappier used this term for the first time for a bottle, which was then the largest ever produced. The name Primat fwas chosen in reference to the Gallo-Roman origins of the village of Urvillewhere the Maison’s headquarters are located, emphasizing the exceptional character of the bottle. Subsequently, other wineries also adopted this format.

As for the Primat, being the first users of this container, we chose a Gallo-Roman name closer to our terroir. Primatfrom the Latin Primatusmeans: of the first order.

Golia e Melchisedek: Divinely Large Dimensions

Goliath, with its generous capacity of 27 liters, takes its name from the biblical giant.

The Melchizedek, with an extraordinary capacity of 30 liters, is named after a mysterious figure from sacred scriptures, making this bottle the largest in the world.

Wine bottles go far beyond their liquid-containing capacity; they carry fascinating stories that delve into the nuances of time and intertwine with the rich tradition of the wine world. From the common Magnum to the majestic Melchizedek, each format represents a unique and evocative chapter in this captivating narrative.

Choosing a bottle is not just a matter of quantity but also of storage and scenic presence; it is a decision that transforms a simple glass of wine into an extraordinary experience. Whether celebrating a victory, honoring ancient rulers, or sharing special moments, the right bottle adds a touch of magic and meaning to every occasion.

All that’s left is to choose the format you prefer and toast with us to these festivities!

TGE Staff

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