Large Format Wine Bottles


When Chris and I host parties, we truly enjoy sharing wine with our friends and associates.  If there are four couples who all like to drink wine we can easily go through 6-8 bottles.  As an example, check out my blog National Drink Wine Day 2012.

There are numerous benefits of having large format bottles of wine.  Within this blog, I plan to share my feelings and why I am becoming a fan of large format bottles.  These have also been what we’ve sought out while looking for great prices on recent trips to the Valley.

The first thing that comes to my mind is cellaring the wine.  The larger the bottle the longer it can age.  If you are not sure why, I will explain.  With a larger bottle of wine, there is more surface area because of the bottle size.  The larger bottle does not allow as much oxidation as smaller bottles.  Oxidation of the wine happens when oxygen touches the surface of the wine.

There are reasons that your wine may age faster; improper cellaring is one reason and I’ll focus on that in a future blog.

A huge consideration and reason we like larger format wines is the price.  Now beware and understand the actual costs for the average price of wines as there are times some wineries may charge more.  It is my understanding that the price of the bottle is 2 times more than of a 750ml.  I am not sure I buy their analogy but “whatever”.  When I am at a winery I always ask for the library/cellar list.  If you get to know the hospitality folks, they get to know you and appreciate your purchasing habits and budget.  Often you can pick up some real good buys on older vintages.  Chris and I have found some significant savings and taken home some real gems at Cosentino winery.  I have also found a couple larger formats including a three liters (3L) of Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon and a (3L) of Chabot at Beringer; all at a decent price.

The final reason I like larger format bottles are the experiences shared with our friends. Every time I pull out a large bottle we appreciate the often expressed “oh wow”, much joy and always a lot of smiles.  I also think it’s pretty damn cool!

 Chris and John with a 3.0L of Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon
We enjoyed this during a “snowed in” Minnesota weekend in 2011

  Bill and Chris sharing a 6.0L of 2007 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
This was part of our 25th Wedding anniversary celebration in the summer of 2011

People wonder what the differences are between the sizes of the bottles.  I have created a table that illustrates the differences and will hopefully make it easier for you to remember.   The large format names vary by the styles of wine.  There are three styles Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy named after three wines regions in France.  Since my main interests are related to Bordeaux style wines (for the time being so far) I will only outline the names of the Bordeaux style wines.  If you want me to update the table for Burgundy and Champagne names let me know.

Here is a visual of various formats:
Starting on the left 750mL, 1.0L, 3.0L, and 6.0L

You can see we already enjoyed the Beringer Chabot!  If you have found some large format finds, send me a note.

Life is too short to drink crappy wine.  Expand your palate and keep trying.

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4 Replies to “Large Format Wine Bottles”

  • I just picked up a bltote of the Beringer Cab, Costco had 2008 not 06 as you mentioned above. Used the coupon. Once I got it home, I noticed its a very generic label, just Napa Valley. I mean what is this?, Founder’s Estate?, Knights Valley?. The difference can be huge in terms of price and, I imagine, in taste. I looked on Beringer site and can’t find what I just picked up. Weird.

    • I would need to see the label. Costco has great deals, but you have to be aware of what you are purchasing.

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