You’ll have seen a magnum of champagne. But have you ever heard of a Nebuchadnezzar? There are in fact multiple champagne bottle sizes from the reasonably large to the really quite ridiculous, and their names are the sort of thing that crop up in trivia quizzes. Swatting up now could see your team sail to victory! If nothing else, knowing about champagne bottle sizes will help you order the right bottle for a seriously big event.
Champagne Bottle Sizes and The Figures They’re Named After:
If you want to memorise something, it helps to have mental imagery to accompany the facts. So here’s a description of people after whom the bottles are named.
The name derives from the Latin ‘magnus’, which means ‘great of size’. Ironically, this is the smallest of the big wine bottles, and if you’re interested, we sell a Bollinger R.D. Magnum.
This bottle is named after the first king of the northern Israel. His name can be translated as ‘he who increases the people’, so just think of an increasing number of people crowding round a massive 3 litre bottle of champagne.
The next size up is named for the first king of southern Israel. This king’s name can be translated as ‘he who enlarges the people’, in which case imagine a crowd of people growing fatter and fatter as they expand from drinking from a 4.5 litre bottle.
In the Bible, Methuselah was the oldest man who ever lived. 969 years is a chuffing long time to be alive, and with 6 litres of champagne, a Methuselah will take a pretty long while to get through. Picture being an old, grizzled person by the time you finish the bottle.
This biblical figure is associated with warfare. So try to imagine people fighting over the 9 litres of delicious, sparkling champagne with spears and chariots like early middle eastern kings.
Some people suggest this figure was one of the three wise magi who presented gifts at Jesus’s birth. Taking that line, you can remember this size by imagining a wise man giving a giant 12 litre bottle of champagne as a gift. I know I’d be happy to receive a present like that.
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful Babylonian king. During his reign, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, were built. So to remember this size of bottle, picture King Nebuchadnezzar sitting in a swaying hanging basket while spraying a huge 15 litre bottle of champagne over everyone below.
King Solomon had pots of gold. To remember this size of champagne bottle, imagine a ginormous bottle pouring out 18 litres worth of gold coins.
This bottle size is a more modern creation. The Taittinger champagne house invented it to celebrate the launch of the world’s biggest passenger ship, The Sovereign, in 1988, and it holds a staggering 26.25 litres of wine. To fix this in your memory, picture a colossal bottle being swung into the side of a ship, and sinking it in an almighty crash.
Goliath, as you’ll remember, is the giant who battled with David. Only a giant could happily consume 27 litres of champagne in one sitting. To remember this size, imagine flinging a rock at a giant holding a tiny bottle in his hand, and being deluged in 27 litres of champagne.
Midas turned everything to gold. Imagine looking forward to a lovely glass of champagne only to have it turn into gold in your hands, and so you ask for another, only for that to turn into gold. King Midas could go through 30 litres of champagne and have the same thing happen every time.
Of course, quality is more important than quantity. If you’re looking for a particularly good bottle of bubbly, read here why arguably ‘Ruinart is the Oldest Champagne House (And Might Just Be the Best!)’.