Champagne is the only AOC to use such a wide variety of bottle formats, some being purely functional while others are designed to capture the spirit of specific festive occasions.
Bottle capacities ranging from 20 cl to 30 litres...
The classic Champagne bottle has a capacity of 75cl and the magnum holds twice that amount (1.5l) making it the perfect size for parties and festive gatherings. For the grandest occasions, there are very large Champagne bottles, the mightiest of them all holding the equivalent of 36 bottles.
The largest and rarest of these ‘outsize’ Champagne bottles are the Solomon and the Primat - whose vital statistics must be seen to be believed:
- Solomon: 18-litre capacity (equivalent to 24 bottles), weight 43 kilos (94.4 pounds), height 85cm (33 inches), diameter 23cm (9 inches).
- Primat 27-litre capacity (equivalent to 36 bottles), weight 65 kilos (143 pounds), height 100cm (40 inches), diameter 26cm (10 inches).
- The Jeroboam owes its name to two Kings of Israel, the first of whom is generally regarded as the founder of the Kingdom of Israel.
- The Methuselah is obviously named after the celebrated biblical patriarch who is said to have lived to the age of 969 (Genesis 5.27). Methuselah’s descendant was Noah, the only man to have survived the Great Flood. Since he is credited with having planted the very first vines, he should also have a bottle named after him.
- The Salmanasar is named after five Assyrian kings, the most famous being Salmanazar III (858-824 BC) – remembered as a great builder even if he didn’t succeed in defeating the Aramean kings.
- The Balthazar contrary to popular belief, is not named after one of the three Magi – or at least not according to Scripture, which neither gives the names of the wise men nor says how many there were??? Their names in fact grew out of a tradition that started many centuries after the Bible was written. The only reference to Balthazar in the bible is to Balthazar king of Babylon (539 BC) who danced the nights away while under siege by Persian troops – handing victory on a plate to the Persian king, Cyrus.
- The Nebuchadnezzah also makes reference to a king of Babylon, in this case Nebuchadnezzahr II (also known as Nebuchadnezzahr the Great), king of the Chaldeans from 605-562 BC. Under his rule, Babylon became the cultural centre of the western world. He also seized Jerusalem and forced its people into exile, a story that would later inspire Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’ (first performed in 1842).