Big, bigger, better? Few top Cape cellars take large bottles to next level

WINE BOTTLE SIZES:
HALF
 = 375ml

STANDARD = 750ml
MAGNUM = 1,5L
JEROBOAM = 3L
REHOBOAM = 4,5L / 5L
METHUSELAH/IMPERIAL = 6L
SALMANAZAR = 9L
BALTHAZAR = 12L
NEBUCHADNEZZAR = 15L
MELCHIOR = 18L
GOLIATH/PRIMAT = 27L

THERE’S SOMETHING special about having a large bottle of wine on the table – something grand, pleasing on the eye. Plus, there are collectors who reason that wines aged in big bottles mature slower and arguably better than in the standard size – on the basis that the wine is less affected by that little bit of air left in the bottle when sealed with a cork or whathaveyou. Many wineries sell some of their reds and sometimes even some of their whites in bottles twice the size of the standard 750ml, but very few take things to the next level – a step or three up from the magnum.

Kanonkop Wine Estate offer most of their range in magnums (1.5L), with their Cab, Pinotage and Paul Sauer also available in larger formats – from double-magnum or jeroboam (3L) bottles at R190 for the Kadette Cape Blend to melchior (18L) bottles at up to R15 700 for the Paul Sauer when last surveyed. Rust en Vrede, also of Stellenbosch, is the other SA wine industry specialist in this regard – sometimes offering their flagship Estate blend in Goliaths, which recently sold for some R26 000pb.

At the time of writing, the following were the only large bottle formats available from the Top 100 cellars in South Africa, i.e. larger than magnum:

• Creation Syrah Grenache: 3L, 5L

• De Toren Fusion V (red blend): 3L, 9L

• De Trafford Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Elevation (red blend), Syrah 393: 3L

• Kanonkop Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paul Sauer (red blend): 3L, 5L, 9L, 12L, 15L, 18L

• KWV Roodeberg: 3L, 5L

• Meerlust Merlot: 3L, 5L

• Neethlingshof Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Caracal (red blend), Owl Post Pinotage: 3L, 5L, 9L

• Rust en Vrede Estate (red blend): 3L, 5L, 9L, 12L, 15L, 18L

• Sadie Columella (red blend), Palladius (white blend): 3L

• Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel (MCC sparkling), Tiara (red blend), Redhill Pinotage: 3L, 5L

• Stellenzicht Golden Triangle Shiraz: 3L, 5L

• The Chocolate Block (red blend) of Boekenhoutskloof: 3L

• Tokara Director’s Reserve Red (blend): 3L, 5L

 

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