Why aren't more white wines sold in magnum or other large-format bottles?

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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

Dear Dan,

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.

—Dr. Vinny

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