Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Some white wines age quite gracefully. Why aren't more of them offered in magnum or other large-format bottles?
—Dan, Lorain, Ohio
I actually see a lot of white wines for sale in large-format bottles at the grocery store, but of course those are typically mass-production value wines that aren’t meant for aging. You’ll also find plenty of larger bottles of fine wine—both white and red—at charity and commercial auctions, where collectors pay the higher price tags to enjoy the slower aging and added prestige of larger bottles.
It's true, however, that there aren't nearly as many fine white wines sold in magnum as there are reds, and you’re right that there are some really terrific white wines with tremendous ageability. But most whites are intended for near-term consumption, while they're still full of fresh fruit flavors and refreshing acidity. It's rare, but there are some special white wines that are only bottled in magnum, like Domaine St.-Préfert Châteauneuf-du-Pape White Cuvée Spéciale Vieilles Clairettes.