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Big Wine Bottles Are All the Rage at Auctions. Here’s Why.

April 10, 2022

We all know that bigger tends to be better when it comes to the things we covet, be it a television, a home or a yacht. The same holds true for wine bottles, but it’s not just about the flaunt factor—there’s science involved as well.

“The benefits of large formats go far beyond volume,” explains Michaël Peltier, senior fine-wine specialist at Millesima USA, which has the most expansive large-format library in Europe. “The ratio between the volume of wine in the bottle and the air between the wine surface and cork is much greater, so the oxygenation of the wine takes place at a much slower rate than in the standard bottle. This means that wines in large formats can age more gradually and for a longer period of time.”’

Perhaps that’s why the big bottles have been so popular at auctions this year, including at the Naples Winter Wine Festival in Florida in January, Napa Valley Vintners’ Library Wine Auction in February and ongoing sales from Sotheby’s. As Jamie Ritchie, worldwide head of Sotheby’s Wine and Spirits, notes, “The market has continued to focus on [the] greatest and the rarest wines and spirits,” while, providentially, “the larger sizes are made in much smaller quantities than regular-size bottles.”

Balthazar Champagne Taittinger Brut La Française 406.0 oz.

The ultimate party pour, this equals 80 glasses—ideal for a big birthday bash or even a small wedding. Compared to many of the large formats out there, this nonvintage bottling is a relative bargain.

Excerpt taken from Robb

Author: Mike Desimone, Jeff Jessen

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