Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

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Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#1 Post by Maxwell A. » November 28th, 2018, 3:23 pm

Hey Everyone, I've developed more interest in magnums within the last year or so. Having a good track record in terms of aging and also the fun of opening a larger format bottle at a get-together are both appealing to me. For anything larger than a magnum, it'd have to be a wine I know I'll love or that I know would be drank very easily (champagne etc) but I think most of the time anything larger than a 1.5L wouldn't be very practical for me. I have a mild interest in 375ml but am hesitant due to not much experience with them and knowing how well they age.

So, how often do any of you buy formats that aren't 750ml? What are your qualifications for pulling the trigger on any of these?
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#2 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 3:25 pm

I love 375s. I have some mags but relatively few. Storage is an issue.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#3 Post by Jeremy C » November 28th, 2018, 3:30 pm

375s are great for Sauternes
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#4 Post by Maxwell A. » November 28th, 2018, 3:31 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 3:25 pm
I love 375s. I have some mags but relatively few. Storage is an issue.
I definitely understand the issue with storage of large format bottles.

Have you found 375ml bottles any more or less consistent than 750ml?
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#5 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 3:39 pm

For what, long term aging? I usually use them to drink early while larger formats rest.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#6 Post by Matthew King » November 28th, 2018, 3:41 pm

I hate having magnums that I bought years ago that I no longer want to drink because my tastes have changed. It's hard to generate much excitement about opening them. When I do have a larger crowd to entertain, I feel like opening stuff I like NOW. So the old stuff sits there gathering dust. These aren't trophy wines so not too motivated to go through hassle of selling them.

I guess my advice is to be wary before buying a bunch of magnums. All those magic opportunities to open them don't really pop up all that often -- at least for me.

On the other hand, I love 375s as my wife isn't much of a drinker. The problem is many quality producers don't want the hassle of making them. And when you find them, you choke a bit on the cost of a half often being signficantly higher than half the price of the 750ml. I've gotten over that, as I realize that I often dump wine from an unfinished 750 anyway.

Mags do work best for Champagne. It's amazing how quickly they will be downed with a crowd! And 375s are a godsend for Sauternes -- though the 750s do hold up the best of any wine I have found many days after opening.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#7 Post by YLee » November 28th, 2018, 3:51 pm

I like 375ml and 750ml. 375s are great for drinking alone or something you wont drink a lot of in 1 sitting, eg. Sauternes. I like to get them both. Anything bigger than 750ml i regret. Id rather pull out 2 750s.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#8 Post by Maxwell A. » November 28th, 2018, 3:53 pm

Matthew King wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 3:41 pm
I hate having magnums that I bought years ago that I no longer want to drink because my tastes have changed. It's hard to generate much excitement about opening them. When I do have a larger crowd to entertain, I feel like opening stuff I like NOW. So the old stuff sits there gathering dust. These aren't trophy wines so not too motivated to go through hassle of selling them.

I guess my advice is to be wary before buying a bunch of magnums. All those magic opportunities to open them don't really pop up all that often -- at least for me.

On the other hand, I love 375s as my wife isn't much of a drinker. The problem is many quality producers don't want the hassle of making them. And when you find them, you choke a bit on the cost of a half often being signficantly higher than half the price of the 750ml. I've gotten over that, as I realize that I often dump wine from an unfinished 750 anyway.

Mags do work best for Champagne. It's amazing how quickly they will be downed with a crowd! And 375s are a godsend for Sauternes -- though the 750s do hold up the best of any wine I have found many days after opening.
Thank you for your input. This is the kind of response I was looking for. I suspect that many people have had similar experiences with large format bottles in that you don't always end up having as many opportunities to open them. I guess the best thing to do is be very picky about choosing them.

I'd like to go for some 375s but I have been hesitant so it does help to hear that you've found them quite useful. I foresee some circumstances when they'll come in handy so I will have to start buying some here and there.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#9 Post by Maxwell A. » November 28th, 2018, 3:56 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 3:39 pm
For what, long term aging? I usually use them to drink early while larger formats rest.
Mid-term to long-term aging I suppose. Bordeaux, Piedmont 375s for example. Yes, if I have some 750s I'd go for the 375s earlier on but how successfully will 375s age in the 10-20+ year range? (assuming proper storage)
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#10 Post by Alan Rath » November 28th, 2018, 4:09 pm

Mags can be fun, but as already said, you have to have the occasion to drink them. If it's a larger family gathering, or a party of non-wine-geeks, they can work pretty well. But a mag of a higher end wine just gets that much harder to open, if you know what I mean.

If you participate in offline events with other wine geeks, mags are particularly difficult, since everyone will be bringing wine, and finishing off a mag is almost impossible.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#11 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 4:18 pm

Why would you buy 375 to age 10-20 years? Makes no sense.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#12 Post by Patrick Duffy » November 28th, 2018, 4:19 pm

We have a pretty big Christmas party every year. I have begun consciously acquiring something old in a large format, usually 3L or 6L, to open for the party. It doesn't last long. I have to take my wife some right away because otherwise she'll be coming for some after the bottle is empty and then she protests "How come I didn't get some??????" We have enough people for holiday dinners that a nice mag is usually about right for the main course. Other than events like that, though, we don't open mags very often. I have a few 375's, mostly because I don't see them very often in the wines I normally collect.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#13 Post by Maxwell A. » November 28th, 2018, 4:21 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 4:18 pm
Why would you buy 375 to age 10-20 years? Makes no sense.
Why does this make no sense? Please elaborate.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#14 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 4:41 pm

The only 375 I would age for an extended period of time are Sauternes, but ymmv.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#15 Post by Maxwell A. » November 28th, 2018, 4:54 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 4:41 pm
The only 375 I would age for an extended period of time are Sauternes, but ymmv.
Mich@el, in addressing 375s in this post, I'm looking to get feedback on why people buy them and whether they've found the 375 format useful enough to continue to keep buying them or not. Based on the fact that larger formats usually age with more consistent results, I assume that the drawback with 375s is that they will not have quite as good results when aged for longer periods. Since I do not have experience in doing so, I'm asking everyone here. That's why I asked you to elaborate when you said "Why would you buy 375 to age 10-20 years? Makes no sense" So have you had bad experiences with aging 375s?
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#16 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 5:00 pm

I have only aged Sauternes in 375 for any real period of time. I have a pretty large amount of 375 (~5%) or so of bottles but they are meant for early drinking including bottles of Krug, Mugnier, Grivot, etc.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#17 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 28th, 2018, 5:01 pm

I have done fine aging 375s. Problem is they are a little too small. I love the Rhys futures, where I can buy 500 ml bottles.

Magnums are cool, but it’s easy to end up with too many. We don’t host many dinner parties anymore, and so the venue for magnums has largely dried up.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#18 Post by ky1em!ttskus » November 28th, 2018, 5:13 pm

The only mags+ I buy are of Champagne. Otherwise, it's so hard to figure out the "right" time for so much wine.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#19 Post by Brad England » November 28th, 2018, 5:25 pm

I'll respectfully disagree with Michael on 375's. I have literally hundreds of them (average age per CellarTracker of 21 years), and they age reasonably similar to 750ml's of the same wine. Maybe a bit faster but nothing to worry about. Just drank a 375 of 1996 Pichon Lalande tonight and it was great. Part of me subscribes to the old Kermit Lynch line, something like "any self respecting wine drinker can handle a 750". But for all the reasons you can think of (spouse not drinking as much, work night, kids, age) I'm as happy to have the half bottles as I am to have lots of mags. I don't know a single person who has a bunch of 375's that regrets it.
On the mag side, I agree with Mathew's post that if you don't like the wine anymore, the mag will be a vivid reminder of that. But, for wine you like, for every mag you have down the line you'll wish you had another. You can't have enough mags. Also, agree with the posts that champagne in mags is always good and something you wouldn't regret.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#20 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 5:36 pm

Don’t get me wrong, I love 375s, I just drink them; so they don’t get aged.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#21 Post by Kirk.Grant » November 28th, 2018, 6:05 pm

I'll agree with Brad, I always wish I had more 375ml's of the wines I like. I tend to drink them too soon and have a hard time keeping my hands off. As for Magnums...it's always a storage problem for me. I want to keep buying them, but don't want to give up the space in the Eurocave for more than 12 - 15 and with Barolo & Burgundy they're going to be there a long time.

When I have a chance, I'll buy more Champagne in magnums. That's always helpful to have...
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#22 Post by Maxwell A. » November 28th, 2018, 6:05 pm

Brad England wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 5:25 pm
I'll respectfully disagree with Michael on 375's. I have literally hundreds of them (average age per CellarTracker of 21 years), and they age reasonably similar to 750ml's of the same wine. Maybe a bit faster but nothing to worry about. Just drank a 375 of 1996 Pichon Lalande tonight and it was great. Part of me subscribes to the old Kermit Lynch line, something like "any self respecting wine drinker can handle a 750". But for all the reasons you can think of (spouse not drinking as much, work night, kids, age) I'm as happy to have the half bottles as I am to have lots of mags. I don't know a single person who has a bunch of 375's that regrets it.
On the mag side, I agree with Mathew's post that if you don't like the wine anymore, the mag will be a vivid reminder of that. But, for wine you like, for every mag you have down the line you'll wish you had another. You can't have enough mags. Also, agree with the posts that champagne in mags is always good and something you wouldn't regret.
Thanks for the input, Brad. Good to hear that you've had good luck with the 375s. Also, what you and everyone has been saying about the mags makes sense. So far, the mags I've been interested in and bought most have been Champagne for the reasons discussed, and also because I love Champagne.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#23 Post by J Dove » November 28th, 2018, 6:14 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 4:18 pm
Why would you buy 375 to age 10-20 years? Makes no sense.
Why? I have cases of 375s that are 15-20 years old. Why should I not have them? Not sure I understand why it doesn't make sense...
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#24 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 6:25 pm

They’re more expensive than 750 per mL and don’t age as well. I typically get them for current drinking and 750s-mags to age but like I said, that’s just me.

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#25 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 28th, 2018, 6:26 pm

Shop carefully and they are not meaningfully more expensive.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#26 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 28th, 2018, 6:40 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 6:25 pm
They’re more expensive than 750 per mL and don’t age as well. I typically get them for current drinking and 750s-mags to age but like I said, that’s just me.
I don't know why you keep saying that. I have had spectacular examples of 375s in the 40-50+ years of age range, all red Bordeaux if that is relevant. My guess is that you really could not tell the difference between the aging of a 375 and a 750 until way way into the maturation of the wine, say 20+ years for wines actually meant to age. If I had the ability, I would trade 1/2 of my cellar for 375s in lieu of 750s. That said, I agree with David, a 500 is even better!

I also agree with the comments on maggies. I love them, and then yet rarely open them. Tough to find the right occasion.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#27 Post by Barry L i p t o n » November 28th, 2018, 6:50 pm

Aging 375s makes a ton of sense if you like mature wine.

Once you get past a certain age, you'll lbe drinking less and will love 375s. I have a decent amount and am extremely happy, they are almost all 15plus years old at this point.

I have misc burgs (05 Arnoux Vosne Romanee village as well as a few 01/02 GC) , 97 and 01 felsina rancia riservas, 01 beaucastels, a few bordeauxs from the 80s,
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#28 Post by YLee » November 28th, 2018, 7:06 pm

Lets have someone do a controlled scientific test on how halves and standards age.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#29 Post by Philip N. Jones » November 28th, 2018, 7:27 pm

I bought a three litre bottle, had a dinner party and drank it, then turned the bottle into a table lamp. Reuse and recycle.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#30 Post by R Roberts » November 28th, 2018, 7:42 pm

I like 375ml when I can find them without a significant premium. Its not hard to pour off some from a 750ml to a small bottle to save for the next day, so anything over a few dollars isn't worth it to me.

As for mags, I've stopped buying them for the reasons already mentioned. They were seductive early on as a collector, but they are just too impractical.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#31 Post by Russell Faulkner » November 28th, 2018, 7:52 pm

I only buy BA and TBA in halves. And that’s usually because the full bottles are unaffordable.

I buy and drink mostly Champagne and Mosel Riesling but would generally prefer magnums over two bottles.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#32 Post by Steve Brickley » November 28th, 2018, 8:27 pm

I don't regret the 375’s at all. Magnums, I try to stick to more mass consumable like beaujolais - an easy party wine in the summer. I do have a run of almost all Ceritas Porter Bass Chard vintages in magnum that I am happy to cellar. The other magnums I like are champagne because we move through it at our holidays and other events.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#33 Post by mattlock » November 28th, 2018, 8:52 pm

Maybe slightly off topic, but is there such a need for as many 375’s in the collection if you invested in a coravin? Perhaps aging long term I can understand but for anything drinking in the relative short term you can essentially take your 750 and create two 375’s quite easy, no? Unless you’re not a coravin fan to begin with then forget all this...

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#34 Post by Larry Link » November 28th, 2018, 8:58 pm

I’m a fan of magnums, and have quite a few. Parker used to rhapsodize about magnums being the best format for long term aging of Bordeaux and I bought into the theory. For many 00s, 03s and 05s I purchased magnums and 750s, usually at a 6 to 1 ratio. Time will tell, the plan is to drink the 750s first and save the mags for later. I do the same with my annual Ridge MB purchase.

I also like magnums when you’ve got 6-8 people together for dinner, because with a 750 you only get a 3 oz pour Per person. Holidays and dinner parties are occasions when I pull magnums.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#35 Post by YLee » November 28th, 2018, 9:00 pm

I dont see the point of a coravin but thats just me. Just buy mix of 375s and 750s. For 750s that i think i will finish in 2-4 days I just use the vacuum sealed pump tool. I dont know the name of it off hand but its just few dollars and works great. This coravin thing is way too expensive.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#36 Post by Nate Simon » November 28th, 2018, 9:05 pm

The idea that 375s age “faster,” and magnums “slower,” is one of those things everybody “just knows.” However, I’ve certainly had 375s that aged beautifully, and mags that didn’t. Anyone ever encounter a shred of science on this topic?

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#37 Post by YLee » November 28th, 2018, 9:11 pm

People get "aging beautifully/better" and "aging slower/faster" confused when debating bottle formats. Smaller bottled wines age faster and bigger you go, they age slower. Thats the science behind it. Wine ages as the air interacts with the wine. Since mag format has more wine it will age 2x slower than 750s and 4x than 375s. This doesnt always equate to aging better. The accurate term is aging slower in bigger formats.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#38 Post by Barry L i p t o n » November 28th, 2018, 10:09 pm

mattlock wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 8:52 pm
Maybe slightly off topic, but is there such a need for as many 375’s in the collection if you invested in a coravin? Perhaps aging long term I can understand but for anything drinking in the relative short term you can essentially take your 750 and create two 375’s quite easy, no? Unless you’re not a coravin fan to begin with then forget all this...
Some truth to that, but I find coravin to be good for several days, but not weeks. And not on champagne - love my 375s of Krug Rose. Also, I've byo'ed my better 375s.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#39 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 28th, 2018, 11:17 pm

Even if 375 aged the same as 750, which I doubt, with few exceptions they are significantly more expensive than 750. If they are the same price or cheaper (which sometimes occur with krug gv) I will buy them for current drinking.

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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#40 Post by PCLIN » November 28th, 2018, 11:26 pm

Wish I had bought more 375ml wines earlier on. Now I pretty much order 12x 375ml of Mugnier Clos de la Marechale for every vintage.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#41 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » November 28th, 2018, 11:26 pm

To those who prefer to open one magnum rather than two 750s: why is that?

Also: why are magnums fun/interesting/always good (compared to two 750s)?
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#42 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 29th, 2018, 3:32 am

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 11:26 pm
To those who prefer to open one magnum rather than two 750s: why is that?

Also: why are magnums fun/interesting/always good (compared to two 750s)?
If trying to pour a wine for a group of 8 or more the mag makes sense.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#43 Post by CJ Beazley » November 29th, 2018, 4:11 am

YLee wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 7:06 pm
Lets have someone do a controlled scientific test on how halves and standards age.
I’ve done this twice. Blind tasting a .750 and .375 of the same wine same year.
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In all honesty I could not tell any difference. At 40-50 years, I’m not sure, but I’m willing to try.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#44 Post by YLee » November 29th, 2018, 4:49 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 3:32 am
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 11:26 pm
To those who prefer to open one magnum rather than two 750s: why is that?

Also: why are magnums fun/interesting/always good (compared to two 750s)?
If trying to pour a wine for a group of 8 or more the mag makes sense.
Why does it make sense? Seems to me I can put a botte of each 750 at the ends of a table so everyone can access more wine or have 2 people pour to cover all glasses faster.
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D@vid Bu3ker
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#45 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 29th, 2018, 5:02 am

Because the two bottles could be different, and one bottle is one bottle fewer to open.

Filling glasses quickly is an objective? I suppose if the idea is to get trashed...
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#46 Post by Neal.Mollen » November 29th, 2018, 5:27 am

Maxwell A. wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 4:21 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
November 28th, 2018, 4:18 pm
Why would you buy 375 to age 10-20 years? Makes no sense.
Why does this make no sense? Please elaborate.
Like others, I don't really understand why this makes no sense. I have had excellent experience with aging 375s. I suppose a double blind experiment could (but might not) validate the common assumption that 375s and 750s age in a materially different way (I accept the common wisdom although I have never tested it). But when one likes wines that are meant to age, a slightly more advanced maturity curve is not necessarily a bad thing, especially for current buying of recent vintage reds. I buy quality bdx and burgs in 375 whenever I can find them at a good price, and I wish I had been more conscientious in doing so earlier in my life. We also have a few (not enough) half bottles of champagne. There, I really do suspect the smaller bottles produce a lower quality product with age so I don't buy many of them and tend to drink them younger.

As others have also said, 375s are perfect when drinking alone or when I want a glass of red after finishing a bottle of champagne. I also anticipate drinking more 375s in retirement (currently, we don't drink at all on weekdays but I suspect that may change a bit when the distinction between weekdays and weekends becomes less meaningful).

As for mags, I really have no use for them and own maybe 2 or 3 currently. I can't imagine the circumstance in which we would ever drain one ourselves, and if we have company, I can always open two bottles and usually would prefer the opportunity to have more variety at the table.

Last point: my recent experience with the Repour stoppers shows some initial promise and that could make 750s more serviceable for me. If that proves out after further research, it might provide a workable alternative to 375s.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#47 Post by YLee » November 29th, 2018, 6:21 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 5:02 am
Because the two bottles could be different, and one bottle is one bottle fewer to open.

Filling glasses quickly is an objective? I suppose if the idea is to get trashed...
You are absolutely correct.. 2 bottles could be different. 1 can be flawed and not the other. Leaving you with at least 1 750ml. Flawed Mag, go bye bye. [dance-clap.gif]
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#48 Post by Howard Cooper » November 29th, 2018, 6:33 am

Love 375s for dessert wines and everyday wines. They may age faster, but I seem to be doing so also, so we are a match. Wish I could find more good reds in 375s

Own one magnum - Bereche Champagne that I received as a gift.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#49 Post by Jay Miller » November 29th, 2018, 7:02 am

Count me as another one who has no real issues with 375s. A slightly advanced aging curve is a benefit in many cases.

That said, I own almost no 375s other than sweet wines and only 3 magnums. Inconvenient to store and there are only rare occasions where I'd open a mag of anything but Champagne.
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Re: Buying Non-750ml Formats...Regrets and Advice

#50 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » November 29th, 2018, 7:34 am

I love 375s, I’ve posted more recent notes from 375 than most ppl on here.

I just don’t think they are ideal for aging. They’re not as widely available and can be hard to store. If you have a cellar where it’s convenient to stack cases of 375 in OWC, then sure, they are great, and possibly they’ll age ok, but even then they will almost certainly be more expensive than 750. If you can find high quality 375 for the same price or close to the same price to 750 and have appropriate storage than go for it.

I’ve only seen a good selection of 375s for bdx, Sauternes, some champagne (krug) and a few burgs (mugnier). I prefer to use them for near term aging and early drinking. As I said, YMMV.

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