The Champagne magnum has long been a symbol of celebration and flamboyance, but expert Michael Edwards also argues that it can generate more complexity than a normal bottle. Here are the seven best magnums from a special blind tasting he attended this year...

A magnum of Champagne is about much more than symbolism or how handsome they look on the table.

In this larger format, the wine almost invariably tastes better to the collector who has the patience to await the right time to savour that alchemy of freshness, zip, complexity and vigour in a longer, distinguished life.

To put this old wisdom to the test, a rare blind-tasting event was hosted at London wine club 67 Pall Mall by Jancis Robinson MW and organised by The Finest Bubble, a small UK-based online wine shop.

So, what effect did the magnums in particular have on the wine’s evolving flavours? Did the larger bottle size manifest itself in a slower, more even maturation and greater span of complex taste sensations?

The quick answer is yes, in so far as the magnum was the format that shone in the scores across the formats tasted.

  • Scroll down for our top seven Champagne magnums

In Reims, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, cellar master and vice-president of Louis Roederer highlights the fact that every bottle in Champagne is a fermentation vessel. Lécaillon stresses, ‘the bigger the format, the longer the fermentation, which creates more complexity – a more seamless texture.’

Michel Drappier, the leading producer of the Aube district of southern Champagne is a specialist in larger formats. He observes, ‘the quantity of oxygen included in the cork is also divided by two because the cork of a bottle and magnum are identical.’

The important point to reiterate is that the larger wine surface area of a magnum allows for the optimum balance of freshness and flavour intensity so prized by wine lovers.

Copy editing for Decanter.com by Laura Seal

The Top Seven Magnums