Recently, my “partner in wine” and I went out for dinner to a local Italian restaurant. Perusing the wine menu prior to our night out, I discovered the restaurant had a 1.5ml bottle of Chianti available for $40. Also known as a Magnum, this large format bottle is equivalent to two standard 750ml bottles. Since it was a great deal, by restaurant standards, it was a no-brainer for us; we ordered the bottle. I was also intrigued because I do not think I have ever seen this on a restaurant menu in this varietal. The waiter also seemed intrigued as well – by us!
Following is a list of other bottle sizes, starting with the smallest:
- Split or Piccolo (187ml): You may have seen this bottle unduly consumed on long distance airplane flights; this is equivalent to a glass of wine.
- Half or Demi (375ml): This bottle is just what it says, half the size of a standard bottle.
- Standard (750ml): This is the most common bottle size; each bottle serving is approximately five 5 ounce glasses of wine (or four 6 ounce glasses for me and my PIW!).
- Magnum (1.5 liter): Mentioned in my introduction, a Magnum serves 10 glasses of wine and is great for the holidays and parties. These days the number of producers and varietals in this size has definitely increased from years past.
- Jeroboam or Double Magnum (3 liter): This is also equivalent to 4 standard bottles of wine. As a kid I remember my Italian grandparents having this size bottle in the house, filled with some type of dry red wine.
- Rehoboam (4.5 liter): You will only see Champagne in this large format.
- Imperial or Methuselah (6 liter): This bottle holds 8 standard bottles or 40 glasses of wine. These are Bordeaux-shaped bottles which are broader at the top; they are 22” high.
- Salmanazar (9 liter): This bottle is equal to one case (12) of standard bottles (60 glasses of wine) and is 25” high.
As this is a brief list, I am going to stop here; these are the basics. There are about fifteen other bottle sizes (small and large), some I cannot even imagine lifting; a case is my limit. You may notice, starting with Jeroboam, that some of the names of the large format bottles are Biblical. Why? No one seems to know, but it could have something to do with wine being imbedded in our history and culture.
Next time you are out shopping for wine, take note of the various bottle sizes and see if you can pick out the ones mentioned above. Treat yourself to a split of your favorite red or white. Or if it is a particularly trying day, just grab that standard and enjoy!