Top Restaurant Wine Pours Go Big

The magnum—impressive to behold and with the potential to age slower (and, some say, differently)—is having a huge year at your table.

“Every year we have a focus, and 2015 is the year of magnums,” says Kamal Kouiri, the wine director of Molyvos, the New York City eatery carrying the nation’s most extensive Greek wine list.

Kouiri carries about 50 high-quality, large-format wines, and now has a weekly by-the-glass series.

Magnums have appeal in a restaurant setting—with their impressive visual presence and slower (and some say unique) aging cycle—and the trend for big pours on bottle lists and by-the-glass programs has gone national.

Addison at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans recently expanded both the quantity and variety of their magnum lists. Restaurant R’evolution, also in New Orleans, always has a rotating by-the-glass pour from magnums, often from limited-quantity bottles.

When Lulu McAllister started as wine director at San Francisco’s Nopa last year, she began “Magnum Mondays,” a phrase that seems ripe to enter the wine lexicon.

Much of the excitement around large-format wines can be traced to the wildly popular “Big Bottle Glasspours” program at Bar Boulud New York, started a few years ago by Head Sommelier Michael Madrigale.

Each day, Madrigale opens a large-format bottle—usually one that’s aged at least a decade—to pour by the glass at cost. (Follow Madrigale’s humorous social media posts, centered around stealth pedestrian snaps alongside that day’s bottle.)

Opening a Jeroboam of premier cru Puligny-Montrachet might seem risky, but Madrigale says getting patrons to imbibe the large format wines is not an issue.

“Good soup doesn’t last long in the pot,” he says.

Check out these restaurants and more in Wine Enthusiast’s ultimate guide to wine-centric dining destinations >>>

Published on June 30, 2015
Topics: Large Format Bottles, Top 100 Restaurants
About the Author
Nils Bernstein
Contributing Editor, Food

A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.

Email: nbernstein@wineenthusiast.net



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