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Thursday 2 October 2014

Magnums best format for Champagne

7th May, 2014 by Patrick Schmitt

Consumers looking for the best expression of Champagne should buy the fizz in large formats, especially magnums, according to Veuve Clicquot senior winemaker Cyril Brun.

Veuve formats

Veuve Clicquot produces Champagne in formats from half bottles to jeroboams

“People expecting a bit more from a bottle of Champagne should upgrade to a magnum,” he commented, during a tasting of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label in London yesterday.

To illustrate his belief, Brun showed a series of Yellow Label brut non-vintage blends with different base harvests in standard 75cl bottles, alongside the same Champagnes aged in magnums.

Having proved that the larger format produced a finer and more youthful-tasting Champagne, he pointed out that the 1.5 litre bottle slowed down ageing because it holds twice the amount of wine as a standard bottle, but has the same neck size – ensuring an equal amount of oxygen is exposed to a much greater volume of liquid.

He also said that the pressure in a magnum is slightly higher, although the difference was “marginal”.

Having expressed his preference for magnums, he later admitted that he “loves” three litre bottles (jeroboams) – the largest used by Veuve – although such formats require a larger neck and cork.

Currently, just 7% of Veuve Clicquot’s production is bottled in formats other than 75cl, although this has increased from around 5% over 15 years ago, when Brun first joined the Champagne house.

“We are growing quite well,” he said of Veuve Clicquot’s supply of magnums.

Such a trend is being helped by an increasing call for large bottle formats in nightclubs, according to Brun.

Cyril Brun

Cyril Brun, senior winemaker, Veuve Clicquot. Picture taken by Colin Hampden-White

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