Why is large-sized champagne called Methuselah?

Have you ever seen that huge bottle of Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon or Moet & Chandon at your friend’s wedding and wondered what it’s called? A standard bottle of champagne is 750 ml. A larger format is the 1.5 ml and is referred to as a Magnum. Beyond that, you end up with names that are unusual unless you are familiar with kings from the Old Testament.

“No one is exactly sure of the reasons why larger format bottles were given biblical names. But, according to the Champagne expert Francois Bonal, winemakers in Bordeaux had been using the name Jeroboam for the four-bottle size since 1725. (It’s presumed they selected Jeroboam, the biblical founder of Israel, who ruled from 931-910 BC because he is referred to as “a man of great worth,” as were the larger size bottles). Bonal also explains that a Champagne medieval poet, Eugene Destuche, mentioned several of these names in his poetry. The region of Champagne adopted the Jeroboam size and followed suit with larger format bottles developed in the 1940s, continuing the practice of selecting biblical kings and patriarchs.”

If you want to impress your friends with the names of large-sized champagne, you can find them below. Technically, you can use this for cava, prosecco or sparkling wine and not only sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France.

Standard Bottle: (750ml or 25 oz = 1 bottle).
Magnum: double bottle size ( 1.5 liter or 50 oz =2 bottles).
Jeroboamm: (3 liters or 101 oz = 4 bottles or about 20 glasses). Founder & first King of Israel: 931-910 BC. I was King of Israel during the traditional year of Rome’s founding (753 BC) and as the Greeks were emerging from the Dark Age that separated Homer from the Parthenon.
Rehoboam (4.5 liters or 150 oz = 6 bottles or about 30 glasses). Son of Solomon,King of Judah, 922-908 BC. Banned by US and EU regulations. Son of Solomon and King of Judah in 933 B.C.
Methuselah (6 liters or 201 oz = 8 bottles or about 40 glasses). Biblical patriarch who lived to the age of 969.
Salmanazar (9 liters or 300 oz =12 bottles or about 60 glasses). King of Assyria: 859-824 BC.
Balthazar (12 liters or 400 oz = 16 bottles or about 80 glasses). Regent of Babylon, son of Nabonide, 539BC.  
Nebuchadnezzar (15 liters or 500 oz = 20 bottles orabout 100 glasses). King of Babylon, 605-562 BC. His name means “Nabu protect the boundary”, became King of the Chaldean Empire in 604 BC.

Another peculiarity is that the names are different when speaking about wine versus champagne. That’s the subject for another blog post.

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Veuve ClicquotIn a wine glass, it boasts a brilliant yellow colour with hints of deep gold. This champagne offers delicate effervescence and a rich fruity fragrance with a tinge of brioche. It is supple and full on the palate, while retaining its lovely, intrinsic freshness. After cellaring for about three years, the Demi-Sec will take on even denser notes of praline. 6 bottle set available at Paneco for only $488.

Founded in 1743, Moët & Chandon is theMoet & Chandon Ice Imperial
largest champagne house in the world. Moët Ice Impérial, the first and only champagne especially created to be enjoyed over ice. A new champagne experience combining fun, fresh and free sensations while remaining true to the Moët & Chandon style, a style distinguished by its bright fruitiness, its seductive palate and its elegant maturity.  Available at Paneco for only $79.80.

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