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Half-Bottles of Champagne.

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
The half-bottles of champagne have always been slightly baffling.

The prices are usually only $10 less than a full bottle and yet they have half the contents of a 750ml bottle.

However the bottles do look rather cute. The only time I've seen them being drunk was when they were passed out at parties, drunk with a straw or a special device that clips onto the top.
post #2 of 42
I think the big thing is when you don't think you can drink a full bottle.

I love half bottles of any wine in restaurants--it lets you pair the wine better. Start with champagne, white for appetizers/fish courses, red with mains/meat courses.

Also useful if your dinner partner doesn't like some type of wine that you really want smile.gif

For drinking at home though, I don't think I'd buy a half bottle of champagne.
post #3 of 42
They're great for people who are self-conscious about their tiny hands.
post #4 of 42
I have not too good memories connected to those little bottles. When I was a child my grand mother my grand aunt and two other 'ladies' used to meet for tea and afterwards while playing Bridge or Canasta or Taroque they always drank two or three of those bottles, always the same strange brand: Piper Heidsieck with a black (or dark blue) label that always reminds me of that Crimean spumante somehow. When they got me into their fangs my aunt a prof of maths asked me embarrassing questions about that hated subject that I never was able to answer.

I prefer magnums anyway, they also tend to be of especially good quality....but at most parties one wouldn't mind anyway since the stuff is guzzled down to quench ones thirst without actually tasting it. Actually most champagne is drunk without appreciation, I believe. So now in my akmé, my middle years I came to the opinion that one either should drink the best stuff alone or at least early in the evening.
post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
Apparently champagne tastes differently in the small bottles; Krug suggests as much and it's attributed to how it ages much more rapidly: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/is-wine-in-half-bottles-fully-worth-it

Supposedly the magnums and up taste the best but then they are so large they're only suitable for parties. By that point everyone is drunk enough there isn't much difference.

Dom Perignon is especially susceptible to being drunk without appreciation since it's such a status symbol.
post #6 of 42
I do think that magnums are also ok for at home, after all they are only what? 1,5 litres or something. Everything above that is a bit ridiculous, though: Jeroboam Nebukadnezar etc...better left to those ship-christenings, show offs and promotions. I don't even know if my merchants have a wide selection of the small bottles but that article has inspired me to do some comparative private research. That snobbery and ridicule of the waiters is typical, as already Orwell noted even for soi-dissant 'top' restaurants in his Down and Out in Paris and London...
post #7 of 42
Half bottles are great for things like Sauternes; not so great with Champagne. The value proposition just isn't there for the most part and they only really make sense to me if you have a specific occasion where you know you won't finish a full bottle (e.g. two people wanting a glass of champagne before going out somewhere). I might use one of the things each year.
post #8 of 42
i disagree. i think small bottles of champagne are just fine. you probably wouldn't want a great wine that way, but for a simple celebration for two, it's just fine -- and it leaves the option of having a second bottle with dinner. generally, with all wines, half-bottles are for more immediate drinking -- the wines in them don't improve with age as much as in 750s or in mags (which are the equivalent of 2 750s).
the reason there isn't as much of a price break is because so much of hte cost is in the bottle. champagne bottles, because of the pressurized contents, take more glass than regular wine bottles and they're somewhat harder to make. not a big deal, but just enough to justify a surcharge to the winery, which no doubt tacks on a surcharge to the consumer because it is, after all, champagne.
post #9 of 42
Yup- the prices to manufacture 375's (the bottle itself) whether champs or regular wine is significantly higher.
post #10 of 42
Thread Starter 
The chief advantage to champagne half-bottles would be that they're good for making cocktails. Or rather, the half-splits would be even better.
post #11 of 42
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post

Yup- the prices to manufacture 375's (the bottle itself) whether champs or regular wine is significantly higher.

First, half-bottles of champagne are so expensive because there is actually no such thing. Nor does champagne "age faster" in half bottles because, properly speaking, it doesn't age in half bottles at all. Rather, I should say, it isn't cellared in half bottles. Once it is shipped out to stores and warehouses, what happens to it can't properly be described as aging. It's more like elder abuse.

Champagne is cellared in full-sized bottles or, occasionally, magnums. When the label wants to sell splits (half bottles) or the little quarter bottles that trendy clubbers drink using a straw, they decant the full-sized bottles into smaller ones. All this extra effort adds considerably to the cost. To put it another way, if they could only sell you splits at half the price of a full bottle, they wouldn't bother making splits. It wouldn't be worth the trouble.

The same thing goes for the larger bottles. Some magnums are cellared but they are also sometimes created by dumping two full-sized bottles into one big one. Everything bigger than magnums, e.g. Jeroboams is created this way with the exception of a couple of small and very eccentric houses.

The bottom line is that champagne in bottles smaller than a full-sized bottle or larger than a magnum is going to be worse than champagne in full-sized bottles. It's been handled more and decanted. At the very least, it's lost a little fizz in the process.
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post

First, half-bottles of champagne are so expensive because there is actually no such thing. Nor does champagne "age faster" in half bottles because, properly speaking, it doesn't age in half bottles at all. Rather, I should say, it isn't cellared in half bottles. Once it is shipped out to stores and warehouses, what happens to it can't properly be described as aging. It's more like elder abuse.

Champagne is cellared in full-sized bottles or, occasionally, magnums. When the label wants to sell splits (half bottles) or the little quarter bottles that trendy clubbers drink using a straw, they decant the full-sized bottles into smaller ones. All this extra effort adds considerably to the cost. To put it another way, if they could only sell you splits at half the price of a full bottle, they wouldn't bother making splits. It wouldn't be worth the trouble.

The same thing goes for the larger bottles. Some magnums are cellared but they are also sometimes created by dumping two full-sized bottles into one big one. Everything bigger than magnums, e.g. Jeroboams is created this way with the exception of a couple of small and very eccentric houses.

The bottom line is that champagne in bottles smaller than a full-sized bottle or larger than a magnum is going to be worse than champagne in full-sized bottles. It's been handled more and decanted. At the very least, it's lost a little fizz in the process.

Regardless, 375's whether for champagne or wine or port... are more expensive bottles.
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post

First, half-bottles of champagne are so expensive because there is actually no such thing. Nor does champagne "age faster" in half bottles because, properly speaking, it doesn't age in half bottles at all. Rather, I should say, it isn't cellared in half bottles. Once it is shipped out to stores and warehouses, what happens to it can't properly be described as aging. It's more like elder abuse.

Champagne is cellared in full-sized bottles or, occasionally, magnums. When the label wants to sell splits (half bottles) or the little quarter bottles that trendy clubbers drink using a straw, they decant the full-sized bottles into smaller ones. All this extra effort adds considerably to the cost. To put it another way, if they could only sell you splits at half the price of a full bottle, they wouldn't bother making splits. It wouldn't be worth the trouble.

The same thing goes for the larger bottles. Some magnums are cellared but they are also sometimes created by dumping two full-sized bottles into one big one. Everything bigger than magnums, e.g. Jeroboams is created this way with the exception of a couple of small and very eccentric houses.

The bottom line is that champagne in bottles smaller than a full-sized bottle or larger than a magnum is going to be worse than champagne in full-sized bottles. It's been handled more and decanted. At the very least, it's lost a little fizz in the process.

Are you quite sure that this process exists for champagne? It seems plausible for wine, but it seems totally implausible for *finished* champagne.

Maybe all of the first fermentations take place in regular sized bottles, and secondary fermentations take place in the differently sized ones? In that case, it would not be so much rebottling as it would be normal production with a step added. It's not champagne (does not have CO2) until the second fermentation.

The reason that I doubt that finished champagne is rebottled in differently sized bottles is because you wouldn't lose "some" fizz if you opened a bottle, you would lose a massive portion of it, and it would be a big uncontrollable (by uniform quality standards) mess. Does not seem realistic.

I know the open bottles to remove the lees, but the necks are frozen so meaningful pressure is not released.
post #15 of 42
I like half bottles, for both wine and champagne. Simple reason - my wife usually doesn't drink much, so she can have a little, and I can have a glass or two, and we're done. It's the right amount for when we're at home. Also useful at restuarants if we go cocktail then wine.
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