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Anyone else in the market for a NYE magnum of bubbly?

Pei Dec 12, 2006 12:51 AM

It occured to me today that 1.5L of a champagne is often less expensive than two 750mL bottles, and that if I'm going to have friends over for New Year's Eve they might really get a kick out of a big bottle.

The Wine House in West LA, when I went today, only had Roederer (forget which) and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin NV. Both were about $80-90. I'm leaning toward the VC because everyone enjoys it but was wondering if anyone has plans to get something more interesting?

I love Charles Heidsieck as well as Piper-Heidsieck bruts, but would be happy to branch out.

  1. Pei Dec 14, 2006 10:54 PM

    Well, it seems my readily available choices are:

    $80: NV Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

    $81: NV Salmon-Billecart

    $90: NV Bollinger

    Or we could really save some money and go for the $40 California Roederer Estate, which I like fine as a non special occassion wine.

    Any thoughts?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pei
      carswell Dec 15, 2006 01:06 AM

      The Billecart-Salmon and the Bollinger are lovely wines. The former is more delicate and high-toned, the latter richer and deeper. Either is, IMHO, preferable to the Clicquot.

      1. re: Pei
        z
        zin1953 Dec 15, 2006 01:20 AM

        I, too, would either go for the Billecart-Salmon or the Bollinger -- depending upon your taste preference -- before I would take the Veuve Clicquot. Indeed, though the QUALITY of magnums is often BETTER than 750ml, I'd opt for 750's of something else before the Clicquot.

      2. t
        tomself Dec 12, 2006 03:28 PM

        As info, here is the explanation from the Roots Cellar alert on Magnum pricing:
        "A little research will show you that larger format bottlings of Champagne generally outscore their "regular size" (750 ml) siblings in "blind" tastings, the same research will also show you that because most houses don't possess magnum bottling lines, the vessels must be hand-filled, hence there is a routine up-charge of 10-15% added for this time-consuming service. Amazingly, that is NOT the case with the Duval-Leroy Magnums...I don't know why, and I don't want to stir up anything by inquiring."

        1. t
          tomself Dec 12, 2006 03:23 PM

          Call Roots Cellar in Healdsburg, CA. (866) 808-0124 rebecca@rootscellar.com They have the following special:
          A One-Time, Exclusive Offer of the fabulous Duval-Leroy NV Champagne Magnums (1.5 Liter = 2 Bottles) for only $75.00. This is one of only Two Champagnes to make the Wine Spectator's "Top 100 Wines of 2006" Listing and the $75.00/Bottle price is extraordinary.
          I have a case of the 750's and ordered two of the magnums. Excellent bubbly. They ship to me in Birmingham, AL.

          1. w
            woojink Dec 12, 2006 05:08 AM

            Generally, my experience has been that good vintage Champagne costs more in magnum, double mag, 6L and other large formats. My experience has been that good Champagne in large format costs more because it ages better in larger formats and the larger bottles (esp. double mag and up) are rarer and therefore more collectible.

            Most Champagnes that I collect are more expensive in large format and the equivalent 750s. Examples include Laurent Perrier Alexandra Cuvee Rose, Taittinger Comte Champagne Blanc de Bland, Veuve Clicquot Le Grande Dame, and the like.

            2 Replies
            1. re: woojink
              Pei Dec 12, 2006 05:19 AM

              What would you pay for a good magnum? Would $100 do it or should we just stick to a variety of regular bottles at that price point?

              We don't need anything very fancy. It's just a bunch of young people who've never had the thrill of opening anything so big before. :)

              Le Grand Dame, for example, would be getting in over our heads.

              1. re: Pei
                w
                woojink Dec 12, 2006 03:08 PM

                $100 for a mag of decent Champagne is not bad at all and I would have no problem buying one. If you really want a thrill, see if you can find a double mag (4 bottle equivalent - roughly 20+ full pours), or even a six liter... but let me tell you, that is a lot of wine. Even with a mag, remember, you're going to be pouring twice as much wine from the bottle than you would a normal 750, so the pouring will be more difficult and it will be easier to spill, and harder to control the flow... just be aware and a little care will help.

            2. Robert Lauriston Dec 12, 2006 01:29 AM

              I usually find the opposite, that magnums cost more than twice as much as two regular bottles of the same wine. E.g. D&M in San Francisco has Louis Roederer Brut Premier at $35 for 750 vs. $88 for a magnum.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                Pei Dec 12, 2006 01:43 AM

                I would have thought so too, but today it was $80 for a magnum of Veuve and $45 for a 750ml of the same. Fluke?

                1. re: Pei
                  Robert Lauriston Dec 12, 2006 01:50 AM

                  $80's a good price for the magnum, but you should be able to find the 750s for under $40 if you shop around.

                  1. re: Pei
                    z
                    zin1953 Dec 15, 2006 01:24 AM

                    Robert's dight -- good price on the mags; bad price on the 750s.

                    Magnum bottles -- just the glass itself -- cost more than 750ml bottles. Plus, the loss due to breakage is higher (i.e.: you lose two bottles every time one breaks in the caves). Magnum glass weighs more, and so is more costly to ship. These are just three of the reasons why magnums of Champagne typically cost more than the price of two 750ml bottles of the same Champagne.

                    (Note: I am comparing the non-sale price of magnums to the non-sale price of 750mls, the "MSRP," if you will. Sales can, of course, affect this "normal" pricing pattern, but 750mls go on sale more often anyway, so . . . )

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