The Best Magnums for Your Money

Because nothing says "life of the party" like two wines in one.

There is a giddiness that accompanies a magnum of wine that cannot be ignored. It’s something that exists in all human hearts: a love of two bottles in one. And magnums are good for the socially anxious. Whoever happens to be holding a large format bottle automatically goes up a few clout points.

While most producers don’t bottle all that many magnums, you can still find plenty of excellent wines from smaller producers in large format (if you’re willing to hunt), and at a price that makes them practical holiday-party sidekicks. So, to aid in holiday festivities, we tasted through a bunch of magnums to find some greats, almost all available at $75 or less. —Megan Krigbaum

Casa Coste Piane Prosecco di Valdobbiadene "Sur Lie"

The sea of humdrum factory prosecco lining supermarket shelves has unquestionably obscured the potential of the wine. This puckery bottling made by Loris Follador and his two sons is here to correct that. Sourced from the impressively steep-sloped part of Italy’s Valdobbiadene, where forests commingle with vineyards and the soil is laced with limestone, this wine’s tiny fuzzy bubbles and tart citrus fruit will make 1 1/2 liters disappear rather quickly.

See also: Raventos i Blanc Conca del Riu Anoia de Nit Rosé

  • Price: $53
  • Vintage: NV
  • From: Louis/Dressner Selections

Celine & Laurent Tripoz Crémant de Bourgogne Prestige Brut

Celine and Laurent Tripoz have been working in Burgundy’s Maconnais since the 1990s, turning out pure-fruited, un-mucked-with wines. This bubbly, made from 100 percent chardonnay, is at once full and bright, with ripe golden apple fruit and savory spice that pleasantly veers toward mustard seed. It’s aged on its lees for nearly three years before it’s disgorged, giving the wine just the right amount of weight for winter drinking.

See also: Les Capriades Vin de France Méthode Ancestrale "Pet Sec"

  • Price: $75
  • Vintage: NV
  • From: Selection Massale

Eric Bordelet Poiré "Granit"

After ditching an illustrious sommelier career in Paris (where he worked at the revered L’Arèpge) Eric Bordelet headed home to Normandy, becoming one of the country’s most sought-after cider producers. This bottling, made from pears from 300-year-old trees is a guaranteed holiday party dark horse. It is undeniably pear at first sip and then it waltzes into this satisfying caramelized butter and flaky pie crust, putting you right in the middle of the best pear tarte tatin one could ever dream of.

  • Price: $45
  • Vintage: 2015
  • From: Polaner Selections

Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet "Clos des Briords"

Winemaker Marc Ollivier has been bottling a portion of his cru Muscadets in magnums for years. Larger bottles make a lot of sense for his vivid, extended-lees aged wines; they age slowly and wonderfully, with just enough texture to stand up to precise acidity. Another reason they’re best in big bottles: There’s literally no one who won’t like this wine.

See also: Domaine de l'Ecu Muscadet "Granite"

  • Price: $45
  • Vintage: 2017
  • From: Louis/Dressner Selections

Valdespino Fino "Inocente"

There is plenty to love about a classic 375mL bottle of Valdespino fino sherry, but there is so much more to love about a magnum of it. Bottled in April, this round of “Inocente” has the all salty, talc-y, raw almond quality that’s expected from a fino, but with an extra cheese-rind savoriness.

  • Price: $55
  • Vintage: NV
  • From: Polaner Selections

Domaine Lapalu Brouilly "Vieilles Vignes"

Beaujolais producers seem to have an affinity for large format bottles and, lucky for us, everyone from Yann Bertrand to Jean Foillard to Julien Sunier offer a small quantity of them to importers in the U.S. This Brouilly, from organic producer Jean-Claude Lapalu falls in the Luden’s wild cherry drops realm, with woodsy rosemary and pretty bright red fruit—an easy going wine that can hang without begging for attention.

See also: Domaine de Fa Fleurie "Roche Guillon," Julien Sunier Morgon

  • Price: $64
  • Vintage: 2017
  • From: Polaner Selections

Etienne Becheras Saint-Joseph "Tour Joviac"

This northern Rhône syrah smells just like the top drawer of a grandma’s bureau: a little woody, a little dusty and smoky, a little like the sachet of cedar she’s had in there since the 1970s—in the best of ways. Take this to any dinner that’s sure to feature an immense roast.

  • Price: $79
  • Vintage: 2014
  • From: Rosenthal Wine Merchant

Broc Cellars Zinfandel "Arrowhead Mountain"

Chris Brockway’s made a name for himself with his Vine Starr zinfandel, but in 2015, he decided that one plot he usually includes in the Vine Starr deserved to be bottled on its own. This wine sits on the lighter side of the zin spectrum at 13.5 percent alcohol and is all crunchy cranberry fruit, highlighted with an aromatic orange oil edge.

 

See also: Birichino Central Coast Grenache "Vieilles Vignes"

  • Price: $80
  • Vintage: 2015