Across Australia, many of us are staying at home right now. While we can wait until the day when we can gather around a table and open a good bottle of wine, it could take some time.
In the meantime, you can try another approach to tasting wine at home: drinking a magnum over several days, as you would with canned wine.
A magnum is twice the size of a regular bottle, at 1.5 liters it holds about 16 glasses of wine. If this is a quality wine from a reputable producer, once you’ve opened a magnum and poured yourself a glass or two, you can simply put the cork back on – or, better yet. , stock up on some inexpensive and versatile wine corks (we use those at home). Once you’ve sealed the bottle tight, simply place the wine in your fridge door for another night.
Among wine professionals, magnums are considered to keep wine fresher, as wine ages more slowly in a large bottle. Josh Begbie, manager of Melbourne’s Bar Liberty wine bar and restaurant, says magnums are underrated. “We often pour magnum wines at Bar Liberty, not just for obvious theatrical reasons, but to see how oxygen interacts with some of our wines,” he says.
“A lot of the wines we serve, especially some that are made without the added sulfur, love a little air and take on their full meaning on the second or third day.”
Olivia Moore, owner of LOC Wine Bar and Bottle Shop in Adelaide, considers magnums ideal for a home drinking environment. A magnum gives “a broad overview of the evolution of wine over time, which I love”.
During South Australia’s lockdown, Moore opened a magnum 2019 Jacopo Stigliano Hiraeth Rosato of Italy. At first, she drank it chilled, bringing out the refreshing character of the wine – but then left it at room temperature. When she returned the next day, exhausted from delivering food and wine to Adelaide and ready for a drink to relax, she found the wine “sweeter, more rounded – but there were still pile of fresh fruit “.
Mike Bennie, owner of PNV Wine and Liquor in Sydney, is “a huge fan of seeing the future life of a wine through the lens of magnums”. He says that in magnum format, “wines age more slowly over time due to the low oxygen / wine ratio in the bottle, compared to standard 750ml bottles.” He adds that magnums can essentially function as house wine, “a drink and don’t think too much about drinking wine over a few days.”
Perth wine professional Olivia Bunny of Boatshed Wine Loft agrees that the large size “maintains and extends the vibrancy of a wine longer when opened”. She found that a large bottle, once opened, “can last over a week and is guilt-free because I don’t need to streamline opening a bottle when I just want one.” glass “.
It’s relaxing knowing that a perfectly good wine is already opened, and you can grab a drink and just put the bottle back in the fridge for another night. With us, we also like to open a magnum of white wine, have a glass of it, put it in the fridge, then switch to red wine – as we would in a restaurant if we ordered a glass. At home, it’s nice to find a way to make it classy.
Magnums are definitely a niche – the bottles themselves are more expensive and often have to be filled by hand. There’s also the fact that shipping them is very expensive – for all of these reasons, along with the generally low demand, producers tend not to offer large quantities of magnums in their release. That being said, here are some great magnums from growers working organically and with minimal intervention to look for right now.
Analog fiano $ 60
Fiano is a white variety from the Campania region in southern Italy known for its nutty aromas and citrus and honey flavors. This white wine from the Victorian Analog central cellar is tangy and light when you first open it, but becomes textured and flavorful after a while.
Scala “Cirò” Bianco 2019 $ 60
This pleasant white wine made from Greco di Tufo comes from Calabria in southern Italy and is produced by Luigi Scala from his organic estate. If you’ve never drunk Calabrian wine, you’re not alone – they’re not common as exports – but Cirò is the most well-known wine region so it’s a great place to start. Enjoy a drink with a few anchovies on toast to start your evening off right.
Wines Scintilla 2019 Pinot Noir $ 74
Adelaide Hills producer James Madden turned to winemaking after running restaurants and managing wine programs in Melbourne and a harvest internship in the south of France. He now works with organic vineyards and without the addition of sulfites, making light and fresh wines that are exceptional with food or on their own. This Pinot Noir carries crunchy fruit, earthy undertones and a hint of sour cherry.
Rosé “Baba Yaga” Si Vintners 2020 $ 80
Sarah Morris and Iwo Jakimowicz are the leading organic winegrowers in Margaret River. This wine, an original blend of sauvignon blanc on contact with the skin fermented with a small amount of cabernet sauvignon, is a surprising approach to rosé that reveals notes of wild flowers and a rich palate.
2019 Cantina Giardino “Vino Rosato” Anfora $ 88
In Italy, “rosato” is a darker, more flavorful style of rose wine. This one from a Campagnia winery based on high altitude vineyards with local grapes is made in a clay pot called an amphora (anfora in Italian). It’s tangy and refreshing with just a hint of tannin and pairs easily with roast chicken on weekdays.
2017 Pierre Coton Brouilly $ 122
The French appellation “Brouilly” is one of the 10 renowned hills of the Beaujolais region where a remarkable and long-aging Gamay wine is produced. Pierre Cotton is a young rising star of Beaujolais, known for producing juicy and aromatic wines that are bursting with flavors of red and black fruits.