napawine Archives - V. Sattui Winery

Magnums: The Ultimate “Party Size” and Much More!

Bigger is better in more ways than one.

Learn why from one of our long-time wine experts, Chris Rota, who has been with V. Sattui for over 25 years.

At the supermarket, we have all become accustomed to larger packaging and the psychology attached, such as “Jumbo Pack” or “Value Pack” or “Sharing Size”. Every potato or corn chip offers a package touting the moniker “Party Size”.

When it comes to the world of wine, nothing says party like Champagne, and producers have been marketing party sizes for over 150 years naming them after Biblical kings, such as Methuselah or Balthazar. The largest size would be a Nebuchadnezzar (20 Bottles) which was named after the King of Babylon. However, a few houses produced even larger sizes such as the Solomon and the mighty Melchizedek (40 bottles). I think the latter comes packed with a crane. By and large, when one of these monsters entered a room, guests would fall silent. That said, these massive bottles of sparkling were made specifically for show. No fermentation ever occurred in a monster bottle; rather, completed Champagne in 750ml bottles were carefully poured in and corked.

In wine, size is much more than just volume…

Besides looking impressive and creating great focal points in a cellar, bottles larger than 750ml actually store and age their contents better and longer. This dimension transcends by far “the life of the party”. It emphasizes the concept of placing a skin around a volume of wine, be it wood, steel, or glass, and it takes on its own life i.e., development and aging trajectory.

Perhaps it’s the ratio of oxygen in the ullage of a bottle (space between cork and fluid) and how it assimilates into the wine as well as how it reduces in the wine over time. Bottle aging is really a process of reduction in which molecular chains become longer, softening tannins, and creating complexity (read wisdom and grace). Depending on the quality of a given vintage, one can age 2 or 5 years, even a decade longer in larger vessels.

Here are the standard large formats wine packages:

                                                                  750ml equivalent

Magnum                            1.5 Liters         2 Bottles

Double Magnum              3 Liters            4 Bottles

Imperial                             6 Liters            8 Bottles

Nebuchadnezzar              15 Liters          20 Bottles

Magnums

Of all the bottle sizes, the Magnum performs the best over time, and nobody can really explain this phenomenon.  It’s akin to how the best olives come from trees with multiple trunks. Nobody knows why, but that’s the way olive growers train their trees. I have personally experienced this and ironically it was at a party. V. Sattui Winery, where I have worked almost 25 years, throws the best parties in the Napa Valley. Unpretentious, yet filled with grace, style, food, and fun; these events are nothing short of magical. During this particular soiree, one of the venues of the evening was to feature library wines and I happened to be pouring a 2002 Suzanne’s Vineyard (now Vittorio’s Vineyard) Cabernet. It was a high point of the party and as fate would have it, we ran out at the height of the evening.  As lines and disappointment continued to grow, I had to do something; so, I brought in some magnums of the same wine. The fruit was still very much intact yet highlighted in the backdrop of sophistication that can only come from age. It was utterly amazing, and it reminded me of the wedding feast of Cana where the steward said, “Why did we serve the best wine so late in the party?”

Life of the Part: V. Sattui Magnums

I suspect some ideas are fomenting here. Anytime you have an age-worthy wine that you intend to lay down, particularly from a stellar vintage, I think you should anchor that inventory with 4 to 6 magnums. This, of course, will extend your enjoyment of a favorite wine and/or vintage. When you are sharing one of those 750ml treasures with special friends and guests (i.e. those who know and appreciate wine) or when you and your guests are tasting through a vertical of vintages; do the following. Compare that gem with a magnum of the same wine as an eye (and palate) opener. Or select the best vintage of a vertical and punctuate the string years with that magnum. Be prepared for gasps and swoons.

Decant your large format wines.

Of course, a magnum of great wine will always dazzle a party. I recommend having decanters handy, as they are much easier to pour than the large bottles. Also, have the “Wine-of-the-Evening” magnum(s) on display for your guests’ anticipation of something special to soon be enjoyed. And if your occasion celebrates one of life’s precious hallmarks, consider using a large format bottle as the guest book at the reception.  Enjoy the empty, signed bottle as a sentimental memento from the event for years to come.

Giving “Big”

Magnums by their sheer size, weight, and presence, make impressive gifts for the Holidays and beyond. Be sure to check out our specially curated collection of Anniversary Magnums sporting Cabernet from our flagship vineyards, stellar vintages, from ready to cellar (2018) to exquisitely aged and at the zenith of their trajectory. Great gifts and great savings – not a bad combination.

Anniversary Celebration Magnums Sale.

But there’s more. While the overt size catches attention, what’s inside engages appreciation at a whole new level. Ultimately the collective, social message implied is loud and clear…

“Wine is always better when shared with friends.”


 

A Wine Drinker’s Top 5 Resolutions for 2019

Attention all wine drinkers! This one’s for you. If you’re a wine-o, then your New Year resolutions list probably looks something like this: add more V. Sattui Winery to my life! Pretty accurate, right?

Resolution Number 1: Wine + Food Pairing Experience

You might have heard of this one before, and you’ve probably thought to yourself, “I really want to do this,” but still haven’t acted on it. Well, now that experiencing one of these popular pairings is on your resolutions list, let’s make it happen for you! This is way more than just a food pairing. Firstly, you are greeted by your host with a glass of our sparkling Prestige Cuvée and taken on a guided tour of our estate Vittorio Vineyard and production areas. You then make your way down to the underground barrel aging cellar where your preset seating pairing awaits at our long Italian tables. What happens next is magic.  Our wine expert will lead you through six mouth-watering seasonally-inspired culinary creations paired with six highly-awarded V. Sattui wines as you are educated on the flavor dance between fats and acids, salt and sweet, complements and contrasts. Step away from this experience understanding how food and wine improve when paired properly.  Reserve your seat now for February 16 or March 16 from 11 am – 1 pm and cross resolution number one off the list!

 

Resolution Number 2: Take a Tour of V. Sattui Winery

When you take a tour of V. Sattui Winery, you immediately become part of the family. Our welcoming and edu-taining hosts dive into our rich history while you discover your soon-to-be favorite V. Sattui wines all while taking in the Tuscan beauty of the property, estate vineyards, and manicured grounds. During the tour, you will learn about our winemaking practices, the Napa Valley Agricultural Preserve, and what it means to be a responsible steward of the land along with the rebirth of the winery following Prohibition. At the end of the tour, guests will be treated to a full complimentary tasting! Daily tours take place daily: Monday through Sunday; reservation required (resolution encouraged).

Resolution Number 3: Partake in a Junk Food + Cabernet Pairing

If you’ve read our previous Cabernet Season blog, you’ve heard of this one. Now you actually have an excuse to experience it for yourself while it’s on your resolutions list. The next time you come by the winery, be sure to upgrade your tasting to this one-of-a-kind seasonal experience. Your favorite junk foods paired with award-winning Cabernets — it’s a match made in heaven. This isn’t the only unique upgraded cabernet experience we’re offering either, the options are endless!

Resolution Number 4: Eat More Cheese!

Now this one’s easy! With over two hundred cheeses from all over the world in our Artisan Deli, you can fulfill this resolution all year long. Grab the crew, your favorite bottles of V. Sattui wine, as many cheeses as you can carry, and picnic right on the property. Our on-site cheesemonger will help you pick the perfect pairings. And for dessert, treat yourself to homemade tiramisu, crème brûlée, seasonal fruit tarts, or our own Italian-style gelato. It’s a new year, so why not indulge?

Resolution Number 5: Drink More (V. Sattui) Wine!

This one might be the most important on your resolutions list this year. It’s important to take time for yourself, relax after a long day, and enjoy a glass (or two) of your favorite V. Sattui wine. Even better – share it with friends!  We offer a variety of wine clubs to fit your liking, making it easy to drink more wine at home all year round. The best part, it’s delivered right to your door! Membership perks include invitations to the best parties in the Napa Valley.  In fact, Lobster Fest is just around the corner and sold out six weeks in advance last year!  Lock in your membership now to get your invitation to this member-only event.  Be sure to also check out our wine specials throughout 2019 as we are always offering amazing deals on our award-winning wines!

As you cross these resolutions off your list in the New Year, be sure to share your experiences with us and tag us on social media! Cheers to 2019!