If you happen to’re having pals over for a vacation social gathering, as an alternative of shopping for just a few regular bottles of wine, dream large and go for a magnum. Nothing kicks a celebration into excessive gear like pulling a monster Champagne bottle out of the fridge, popping the cork, and letting the group go wild. It’s drinks and a photograph alternative in a single outsized bundle. “The largest promoting level [of the magnum] is that your mates are going to be so impressed,” says Rebecca Fineman, grasp sommelier and managing companion of Ungrafted and GluGlu in San Francisco.
Regrettably, buyers typically overlook magnums, possibly assuming they’re too costly or simply an excessive amount of wine. In reality, a magnum is 1.5 liters, or double the quantity of a typical bottle, and shouldn’t value greater than two common bottles of the identical wine.
Other than the instant vibe enhance, winemakers respect magnums as a result of there are technical benefits. “The fantastic thing about a magnum is that it matures extra slowly” than customary and half bottles of wine, says Fineman. “So the wine is simply all the time in the perfect form.” And since producers have a tendency to order the magnum remedy for the wines they contemplate value celebrating, it’s normally a secure wager that the massive bottles comprise one thing particular. It’s additionally cool that extra visitors get to style the very same bottle.
Magnums may be present in bottle outlets or purchased immediately by wineries. Monitoring down a selected bottle from a sure winemaker would possibly show difficult, as magnums are sometimes produced in restricted portions, however throughout the holidays retailers provide just a few festive choices. Many give attention to Champagne, though Fineman guarantees there are attention-grabbing choices for bubbles at each value level. For her husband and companion Chris Gaither’s upcoming birthday, she plans to tug out Huet Petillant ($84), a delightfully inexpensive glowing chenin blanc from the Loire Valley.
Listed below are half a dozen large bottles of bubbles, from essentially the most elegant homes to the chillest pure makers.
An entry-level Champagne
For Champagne from a revered identify that received’t break the financial institution, depend on Charles Heidsieck. Charlie struck out from his well-known household and established his personal home in 1851, which right this moment continues a powerful custom of complicated blends. The Brut Reserve combines pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Meunier grapes from 60 totally different vineyards, and it’s wealthy with freshly baked brioche, apricot, and pistachio flavors.
A daring and shiny brut
If you happen to’d reasonably snack on tinned fish than sugar cookies at a vacation social gathering, attain for a magnum that’s additional dry. Fourny & Fils was based in 1856, and now belongs to the fifth technology of the household. The brothers give attention to outdated vines of Chardonnay with little to no added sugar, leading to a mode that’s unusually daring and shiny. Their leanest bottle is the Brut Nature, that includes 100% Chardonnay, completely no added sugar, and citrus notes that pop with seafood.
A chic glowing rosé
This gorgeous, pale pink, and soignée glowing rosé comes courtesy of the women of J. Lassalle. They’re one of many unique grower Champagnes, bottling their very own grapes since 1942. The Rosé Premier Cru options principally pinot noir, and it’s as delicate and clean as strawberries and cream, though the chalky soil provides contemporary minerality.
The California basic
For an iconic glowing wine from Napa Valley, throw it again with Schramsberg. Their first wine was the 1965 Blanc de Blanc, comprised of Chardonnay grapes, and the primary of its variety in the USA. It’s aged in stainless-steel barrels, which maintain it crisp and dry, and the 2020 classic tastes of inexperienced apple with touches of ginger and vanilla.
Wild western bubbles
Extra chill and minerally bubbles come from far western Sonoma County. Cool coastal fog rolls into the vines at Iron Horse, the place the Sterling household has been sustainably farming Chardonnay and pinot noir since 1975. A number of of their sparklers are available magnums, together with the Stargazing Cuvee, that includes a wild galactic label from the James Webb Area Telescope, and shiny bursts of tiny bubbles. Like lots of their wines, it goes down gorgeously with oysters.
Tremendous cool and pure
Broc Cellars in Berkeley made pure wine lengthy earlier than it was cool, beginning with gentle and fruity zinfandel in 2004. In the present day, they provide fizz at a refreshingly low value level: The Glowing Chenin reveals a straw yellow shade and teases citrus flavors like kumquat. (As a small pure vineyard, Broc makes significantly restricted portions of magnums, so in the event that they’re between batches, it’s additionally accessible in customary bottles.)
Becky Duffett is a meals author residing in San Francisco. She’s the previous deputy editor of Eater SF, and her current work has appeared within the New York Occasions, Bon Appétit, the SF Chronicle, and Edible SF.
Cait Beyer is a meals photographer primarily based in Oakland. She’s shot for Eater, Domino, Rue, Good Eggs, Sunbasket, Minted, and extra.