May 25th – National Wine Day

There is, it seems, a “national” day for everything. Whether the excuse just be marketing, or a genuine effort to appreciate an item, it is no reason not to celebrate.

big_wine

It seems like the biggest (literally) decision one can make today is what size bottle to get. In general, larger wine bottle sizes are well-suited to a longer aging of wine, because of the smaller ratio of SO2 gas, (sulphur dioxide and oxygen) that occupies the space at the top of the bottle between the cork and the wine. The less air the surface of the wine is exposed to, the slower the wine will develop. However, very large bottles are very heavy.

Winemakers carry Britain’s biggest ever bottle of English sparkling wine, produced by the Chapel Down Winery in Kent. The bottle is a unique, 15-litre Nebuchadnezzar of Chapel Down’s gold medal-winning Blanc de Blancs 2007 sparkling wine. Photo credit: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire

Winemakers carry Britain’s biggest ever bottle of English sparkling wine, produced by the Chapel Down Winery in Kent. The bottle is a unique, 15-litre Nebuchadnezzar of Chapel Down’s gold medal-winning Blanc de Blancs 2007 sparkling wine. Photo credit: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire

A standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters of wine, supposedly the perfect amount for two people to share (my husband would take issue with that; he thinks “one bottle” means “one person”). But there are other options, including, but not limited to:

The split (187 milliliters) Also known as Piccolo. (1/4 bottle) – 1 glass of wine

Half-bottle (375 milliliters) (2 glasses)

Magnum – holds the equivalent of two standard bottles (1.5 liters)

Double Magnum – 4 bottles (3 liters)

Jeroboam – equivalent of four bottles in a bottle of sloping shoulders (3 liters) for Champagne, or equivalent of six bottles with high shoulders (4.5 liters) for still wine. U.S. regulations limiting larger bottles to even-numbered liter sizes mean some ‘Jeroboams’ are now 5 liters or 6.67 bottles.

Rehoboam – six bottles with sloped shoulders

[Who knew wine bottles had shoulders?!!]

A Burgundy slope shouldered wine bottle

A Burgundy slope shouldered wine bottle

Imperial – eight bottles in one (6 liters)

Methuselah – eight bottles (6 liters) in one in a bottle wth sloped shoulders and usually reserved for sparkling wine.

Salmanazar – 12 bottles (9 liters)

Balthazar – 16 bottles (12 liters)

Nebuchadnezzar – 20 bottles (15 liters)

Melchior – 24 bottle equivalent (18 liters)

Melchizedek – 40 bottles

Who are these people for whom the bottle sizes are named? Most of them are biblical figures.

Jeroboam was Founder and first king of Israel, 931-910 BC.

Rehoboam, a son of Solomon and a grandson of David. Rehoboam himself reigned for 17 years, had 18 wives and 60 concubines. They bore him 28 sons and 60 daughters. He undoubtedly had many occasion to hit the wine bottle.

Bordeaux. The standard “high shouldered”  Bordeaux wine bottle

Bordeaux. The standard “high shouldered”  Bordeaux wine bottle

Methuselah is named for the oldest man mentioned by age in the Bible, allegedly living to the age of 969. He was also Noah’s grandfather. (Some scholars believe Methuselah’s given age is the result of an ancient mistranslation that converted “months” to “years”, producing a more credible 969 lunar months, or 78½ years.)

Nebuchadnezzar actually is a reference to Nebuchadnezzar the Second, who was the King of Babylon from 605-562 B.C. Both the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple are ascribed to him.

Melchizedek is named for the King of Peace in the Book of Genesis. Notably, Genesis 14:18 reports: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was [is] the priest of the most high God.”

Balthazar and Melchior are names of two of the Three Wise Men from the New Testament. (The third was Caspar – why no bottle for him? Well, at least he got venerated as a Catholic saint, even if he has no bottle.)

Not so much into drinking wine? There are still a lot of things you can use it for, from hot fudge sauce to lemon chicken, cakes, mushroom sauce, and so on. Check out a sample list here!

Happy National Wine Day!!

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About rhapsodyinbooks

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7 Responses to May 25th – National Wine Day

  1. Beth F says:

    I can’t imagine how big a Melchizedek would be! And, yeah, I though everyday was wine (whine) day.

  2. Rachel says:

    I’ll celebrate wine any day!

  3. I’ll drink a glass of Chardonnay to this tonight. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole’s Chatter

  4. Mae says:

    Your list of the eponymous kings and Biblical figures whose names are on the bottles is great! I hope you had a happy wine day.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  5. litandlife says:

    I’m sort of with Jim – there are a lot of nights that one bottle = one person! Maybe even some of those really big ones!

  6. I’m cracking up, I had no idea there were these ridiculous names for larger size wine bottles. And to think all this time I’ve been buying the regular size bottles like a FOOL.

  7. heatherdpear says:

    I can’t imagine how you would even pour those large bottles. I’ll stick with the smaller format for now. Thanks for the wonderful information.

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