The Magic of the Magnum
Champagne, and magnums of Champagne in particular, have been associated with sporting triumph ever since American racing driver, Dan Gurney, surprisingly took Ford to victory at Le Mans in 1967 and (perhaps even more surprisingly for the crowd of supporters) shook up the magnum of Champagne he was awarded and sprayed it from the podium.
"What I did with the champagne was totally spontaneous. I had no idea it would start a tradition. I was beyond caring and just got caught up in the moment" – Dan Gurney
Synonymous with celebration and impressive in stature, we hold these capacious bottles in high regard, but is there any other reason to laud them over the humble 75cl?
On a recent call with Sip co-founder, Peter Crawford, I discovered that there actually is a technical reason to buy big...
It's all about Oxidation...
Whilst a magnum holds two bottles worth of Champagne (1.5l) the neck size and cork size are the same. What this means is that there is a better wine to oxygen ratio in a magnum.
Less oxidation means that magnums tend to age more slowly and retain freshness in the wine beyond their standard-sized counterparts. For real geeks, like Peter, there is also the opportunity to buy favourite cuvées in both standard and magnum size and compare the differences.
If you're anything like me, you'll be asking at this point, 'why not go bigger still, to double magnums, methuselahs, nebuchadnezzars even?!' Aside from the fact that you'd need arms the size of 1980's Arnie to lift the bottle (a nebuchadnezzar holds 20 standard sized bottles!) Peter is quick to point out though that, there always needs to be some oxidation to bring out new and interesting flavours in the wine. This is why we always recommend returning to a bottle of Champagne over a number of hours (or even the following day) to experience new flavour profiles. The magnum it seems, strikes just the right balance in this respect.
See for yourself... Armed with this information, you'll have an anecdote and some information up your sleeve; your guests will thank you for the extra Champagne and the empty bottles also make great doorstops!