THE JOY OF HALF BOTTLES

THE JOY OF HALF BOTTLES

Most of us have never thought twice about the size of the standard wine bottle. But 750ml is certainly a strange norm and 6 glasses is a big commitment for one evening. Unsurprisingly, the English and the French are to blame – the wine world’s Sykes-Picot if you will.

The standard format bottle comes from the late 1800’s and the relationship between French wine exporters in Bordeaux and their most important clients, the British. At that time, wine was shipped from France in barrels by sea, and then bottled in Britain. Mostly because shipping in barrels was more efficient. Think of a world without containers, pallets or even the steam ship. Also, most glass bottles were manufactured in England. As a matter of fact, it was not until 1821 that a company called Rickets of Bristol received a patent for a machine that manufactured identically sized bottles, in a shape, we would recognize. To make matters more complicated, the two countries, as is today, did not use the same volume measurement system. So, the British came up with a way to simplify the conversion. The barrel of wine from Bordeaux, France, is 225 liters, the British decided that this was the perfect quantity for creating three hundred bottles. Thus, the 750ml bottle was born. 

A half bottle is therefore 375 milliliters, about 3 glasses of wine (or in our case, 2!). But even today, with all the technology and efficiencies, these are scarce in the marketplace. This is mainly because specialized equipment and additional logistics are required in order to bottle in this format meaning more capital and planning, two things that can be in short supply in the chaotic world of wine. So often, half bottles in both retail and restaurant settings tend to cost a little bit more than one half of the full-bottle price. Many wine shops don’t even stock them. Still, this extra cost is often worth it. Half bottles can come in extremely handy when traveling, dining alone, or you’d like a couple of wines for date night. If you are looking to enjoy a sparkling wine with your first course, and a red wine with your main course, this is definitely the way to go. These adorable bottles afford us so much more choice while avoiding all the bells, whistles and hassles of wine preservation systems.

 

For your next night in, be it alone or with company (especially if your company is a beer or spirits drinker), explore the half bottle selection at 13cwine.com. Here are a few highlights

 

Gramona Reserva Brut Corpinnat 2019 

A perfect way to start any evening if you have something to celebrate, or at this price point, simply because it was a tough Tuesday. This  Gramona Reserva Brut Corpinnat reveals a brilliant pale yellow with golden highlights, with fine, satiny bubbles. Pears, golden apples and a touch of citrus, lemon peel, white flowers, fennel, and very fine notes of toasted almonds. The palate fresh on entry, nice volume, with fine, and creamy bubbles. Dry finish with good acidity. Fitting as an aperitif or paired with cheese, a salad or zesty pasta.

Echo de Lynch Bages 2017 

Château Lynch-Bages is in the Pauillac appellation of Bordeaux and classified as one of eighteen 5èmes Crus (Fifth Growths) in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. The 90 hectares occupy a gravel ridge looking down over the Gironde river are planted predominantly with red wine grape varieties (73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot).

2017 was a tremendous vintage in Bordeaux. This Pauillac is a beautiful representation of that vintage, dense, dark garnet color, drawing on purple in its youth. The bouquet consists of black and red fruits, roasting, licorice, and leather. The Pauillacs from 2015 were vigorous and tannic, which have softened with age which allows the tannins to melt and give a nice and round structure.

Aveleda Loureiro & Alvarinho Vinho Verde 2021

A range that expresses the best grape varieties of the Vinho Verde Wine Region: the most awarded, the most expressive, the most peculiar. Wines that highlight the purity of the varieties and invite the consumer to explore the most authentic flavors of Vinho Verde. In this wine, out of Alvarinho’s intensity and Loureiro’s floral gentleness, a classic romance was born. A perfect marriage, celebrated to this day in the timeless Quinta da Aveleda.

With pale yellow color and a beautiful crystalline rim, Aveleda Loureiro & Alvarinho is the definition of an harmonious wine: the exuberant floral and citric aromas of Loureiro blend perfectly with the velvet smooth body of the Alvarinho grape variety.

Chateau d'Yquem 2005 

Chateau d`Yquem is often described as the greatest sweet wine in the world and great things come in small packages! Whether it is the price point, or the fact that dessert wine is normally enjoyed in smaller quantities, this half bottle is perfect for collectors and drinkers alike. Intensely opulent when young, Yquem develops an extraordinary complexity and exotic richness as they mature, with the best vintages lasting for over 50 years. This marvelous 19-year bottle unfurls peach, pineapple, coconut, nutmeg and cinnamon aromas, backed by hints of grilled toast, caramel and vanilla from new oak. With uncommon richness and concentration, Yquem’s wines have extraordinary aging potential. This is certainly a meditation wine, but try it with its traditional foie gras pairing, or be a renegade and pair with Knafeh!