We like magnums.
We could argue this is because wines age better in larger bottles and therefore offer longer drinking windows.
But ultimately it’s because magnums are just more fun.
The bigger the bottle, the more it adds to the event.
Simple yet endlessly enjoyable. Arguably one of the best cooperative cellars in Italy, Produttori del Barbaresco never falter in their winemaking and the quality, even in their simplest offering is always high. The 2014 vintage has plenty of full, ripe fruit and bright acidity that will last a few years yet.
Rioja Reservas deserve age and they cannot be beaten on value. The 2006 Viña Tondonia is a classic, full Rioja but has a lovely elegance and subtlety to it. It is a fine example of what a mature, high quality Rioja Reserva should be like.
The Millepassi from Donna Olimpia is one of the best value Super Tuscans on the market. The estate is located next to Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) and the proximity to prestige is having a positive effect. 2016 was an excellent year in Bolgheri and was the turning point for Millepassi whose individuality has now shone through. Whilst this may still be a little young for drinking in magnum now, it is a perfect time to invest in something that will come to life in a few years’ time.
Penfolds are masters when it comes to blends. They focus less on single vineyards and more in the art of blending from different vineyards to create balance and finesse in their wines. The St Henri is predominantly Syrah but tends to include a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is also aged in large, old oak vats that impart a more subtle oak flavour. The 2008 is arguably the best vintage of the last two decades with exceptional structure and balance that offset the clean yet intense fruit.
Two Hands Wines make high quality but discernibly Australian wines. They are full of power, body, ripe fruit and sharp tannins but the balance is usually good. 2007 was a difficult year in Australia and the harvests were small but, as a result, were high in concentration. Having the 2007 Ares Shiraz in magnum will likely pay off now as it is just hitting the end of its drinking window in bottle but will be at the perfect point for a magnum. Raspberry, spice, and a touch of liquorice make for a heady mix.
Sandrone treads the fine line between modern and traditional Barolo and the result is usually elegant, structured, yet deeply complex wines. Cannubi Boschis is his flagship wine and one that never ceases to receive praise. The 2012 vintage has a lovely mid-ruby hue with red cherry fruit, orange peel and tobacco coming through. The magnum will be just about opening up now but will last another decade.
2011 is not a standout vintage for Bordeaux and invariably gets overlooked due to its variability in quality but also because its predecessors were so revered. Lynch Bages made a good effort not to ignore this vintage though and produced a wine of quality and complexity. Full and intense with lots of good black berry fruit and the tannins that were so powerful at the beginning have now started to settle.
The Grande Annee is made from a blend of 16 crus from both grand and premier status. The 2004 is surprisingly youthful for its age and is fresh and lively on the palate. But this is not a frivolous Champagne to be quaffed without care; this a more complex and interesting offering than many years that is quite unique.
The 2010 Sassicaia was seen by many as a marker of near perfection with elegance, finesse and and a fine purity of fruit that lingers on the palate. It has evolved rapidly though and probably faster than many anticipated. A magnum in this instance will be a handy way of keeping hold of some of the key aspects of this vintage that may have started to disappear in the smaller format bottles.