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Champagne: Magnum Vs Bottle: Panel Tasting Results

Who could argue? All wines, Champagne included, age better in and taste nicer from a larger bottle, correct? Peter Liem sets the scene for a fascinating, and highly enjoyable, two-tier tasting...

There’s an old saying in Champagne: ‘A magnum is the perfect size for two people, especially when one of them isn’t drinking.’ Beyond simply allowing you to drink more wine, though, there’s something indisputably alluring about the 1.5-litre format. The large bottle is inherently festive, and it looks impressive on the table. If you do have more than two people, too, it makes the wine easier to share. But is Champagne in a magnum also better, in terms of quality, than the same Champagne in a standard 75cl bottle?

There are reasons to believe this to be true. In the wine world, it’s widely accepted that wine ages differently in magnum than it does in bottle. ‘The evolution of the wine is slower [in magnum] and the integration of all aromas seems to be more harmonious,’ says Michel Drappier of Champagne Drappier. ‘One definitely recognises the same wine, same characteristics, but assembled in a more elegant way.’


Champagne Magnum Vs Bottle

The Judges

  • Simon Field MW Field was a buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd for more than two decades and now works as a consultant on areas which particularly interested him during that time, with Champagne topping the list in France along with Rhône and Languedoc, as well as Spain and fortifieds. Field is also a DWWA judge.
  • Peter Liem – Resident in the Champagne region, Liem is a wine writer and author of ChampagneGuide.net, as well as the DWWA Regional Chair for Champagne. Formerly a senior editor and tasting director for Wine & Spirits magazine, his most recent book, Champagne, was published in October 2017 (Mitchell Beazley).
  • David Vareille – Vareille is head sommelier at The Arts Club in London. Raised in Chablis, he began his career at 16 working in the Michelin-starred La Salamandre, before moving to the UK in 2004 to work at top venues including L’Enclume, Hotel du Vin, Bleeding Heart and Bar Boulud. He is also a DWWA judge.

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