A few years ago I started to give magnums (the equivalent of two standard bottles of wine/1.5litre) to my family and friends at Christmas and other times of the year. I’ll be doing the same this year for the following reasons:
1. The magnum bottle is often described as the ideal size for wine maturation favouring quality.
2. Producers generally select some of their best vintages or stocks for magnums so you can expect the quality of the wine to be good.
3. A magnum makes an impression and raises a smile.
Most good wine merchants stock more magnums at this time of year as well as half bottles (37.5cl) which make great stocking fillers and additions to hampers. Here’s my guide to where to find a good selection:
Berry Bros & Rudd is offering around 200 magnums coving Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, German Riesling, Italian Barolo, Rioja, Port and one or two top drops from Australia. Prices range from £29.90 to over £2,000. www.bbr.com
London wine merchant Lea & Sandeman has a varied range of wine, Champagne and ports in magnum with many priced under £50 although you could splash out on Krug Grande Cuvée Brut for £355. www.leaandsandeman.co.uk
Majestic lists 10 magnums of Champagne and wine starting with the very drinkable Viñalba Reserva Malbec 2009 at £17.99. www.majestic.co.uk
Waitrose has a range of magnum gift sets from £40 to £120. www.waitrose.com
Corks Out, with several branches in Cheshire, has a good choice of Champagne in magnum and other wines including 2001 and 2000 vintages of Lebanon’s Château Musar. You can also find a magnum accessory set here for £13.36. www.corksout.com
The Secret Cellar lists 26 magnums from France, Spain, Champagne, Australia, South Africa and California . www.secretcellar.co.uk
Stevens Garnier has a good range of magnums and half bottles including Spanish and French wines. www.stevensgarnier.co.uk
Last but by no means least Oddbins has magnum bottles of Château Jaumard 2009 on shelf for £15. If you like a drop of easy-going claret at this time of year try this, it’s great value for the price. www.oddbins.com