What are magnums and why they are better format for wine

When we tell people that BONDLE started offering wines in magnum format only, we usually get one of two reactions: uncontained excitement or confusion. We love geeking out with the first group but also understand where the other is coming from. Although magnums have been around for a long time, they aren’t as popular in the U.S. as in other parts of the world like France. We want more people to know about magnums  because we think they’re the ideal format for sharing and aging wine. Check out what makes them stand out and let us know if you’re equally convinced!

1. Perfect Size for Sharing

Magnums are also great statement pieces. Big, bold, and so extra, they’re instant conversation starters. Their boss-presence signifies that you’re serious about wine and hosting. And we love our friends’ reactions when they see a magnum on the table. Laughs, amazement, and mild intimidation. At once a promise and a challenge. 

The most obvious difference with magnums is their size. They hold double the amount of wine as the standard 750mL bottle. Their 1.5L capacity means that there are 10-12 glasses of wine to go around! 

As people who regularly host dinner parties, we love it when the size of a get-together naturally grows. Our friends invite their friends and pretty soon the party is poppin’. Those spontaneous nights have a different kind of energy that can make them irresistibly fun and memorable. But you can’t plan for that kind of thing and, pretty soon, someone has to leave to pick up more drinks. With magnums, everyone can stay put for all the don’t-want-to-miss-it moments.  

Additionally, large format bottles are intrinsically generous. A big part of why they’re popular in France is the culture of generosity there. They believe that good food and wine are meant to be both savored and shared, so having more than enough is itself a gift and act of graciousness. Whether it’s the host that serves it or the guest that brings it, magnums show that someone went out of their way to care for the people they’re with, which makes them suitable for special occasions like holidays, birthdays, and showers.

BONDLE Wines Paris Shoot 1

Or, if you’re like us, magnums are  the kind of detail that can turn any day into a special occasion.

2. Better Taste and Aging

Wine and air have a love-hate relationship. While a little bit of air helps to develop flavor, aroma, and color, too much can cause oxidation, premature aging, and spoilage. However, that’s not a big concern for magnums since they contain twice the amount of wine but the same amount of air as a standard bottle, so less of the actual juice is exposed to the oxygen up top. That keeps them fresher, longer.

Why is freshness important? Well, not all wines are meant to be aged. Take natural wines for instance. Since they don’t include preservatives, many are meant to be enjoyed while they’re young. Bottling them in magnums maintains the delicate notes and gives you more time to taste the wine as the winemaker intended. 

Magnums are also ideal for aging. The lower air-to-liquid ratio lengthens the maturation process, giving the flavors more time to develop. It’s the same idea with whiskey -- the longer it ages, the more robust and complex it tastes.

Another area where magnums shine is with wines made from grapes known to experience a “dumb” phase, which occurs when a wine becomes aromatically closed as it transitions from youth to maturity. Exactly when that happens depends on the grape variety, but magnums can delay the onset, giving you more time to enjoy your wine while it’s still fresh and luscious. Take our white wine, for example. It’s made from 100% Roussanne grapes, which are highly drinkable in the first 3-4 years. After that, they become muted or disjointed until about the 7th or 8th year, when they reemerge with characteristic richness and depth. Whether you decide to drink it early or add it to your prized collection of aged wines, magnums allow you to make the most of those two important periods.

3. More Bubbly

Here at BONDLE, we are obsessed with champagne. Without it, a celebration wouldn’t be as special and brunch would be just a lazy breakfast. But what’s better than one indulgence? Two, of course. Champagne — but in magnum format. That’s one hell of a duo. 

In fact, the practice of using larger bottles began in the Champagne cellars of France. The traditional method for making Champagne and other sparkling wines involves the addition of yeast and sugar to the base wine to stimulate secondary fermentation inside the bottle. Thus, the larger surface area of a magnum means there’s more room for the juice to interact with the yeast. More chemical reaction leads to a superbly bubbly, unexpectedly creamy, and well-balanced champagne.   

4. Higher Quality 

Magnums are the winery’s flagship products and the least likely to be sold directly to consumers. They are literally the cream of the crop. All the winemakers we’ve met in France, Spain and Italy told us that they reserve their best grapes for magnum bottling, which gives them the highest chance of producing a truly exceptional wine. Magnums are commonly bought by wine collectors and restaurants — two consumer groups that know and expect quality.

Larger bottles have greater thermal inertia that makes them less susceptible to temperature fluctuations. Basically, it takes longer for them to cool or heat up so they’re more stable and reliable. The thicker glass also offers UV protection. Although thicker glass costs more, high-quality wine is worth the investment. 

There are so many things that make magnums great. BONDLE is working around the clock to bring you the very best magnum wines France has to offer. Now through BONDLE, you can enjoy them in the comforts of your own home, on your own terms, with your friends and family.  

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