Interview with a Vintner

The next big things

From the 1.5-liter magnum to the 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar, sales of big bottles are on the rise. Jeff Zacharia, president of Zachy's Wine in Scarsdale, New York, recently sold a 15-liter bottle of Château Cheval Blanc 1990 for $20,300. "Wines in big bottles mature a little more slowly and gracefully," he says. "They give you a richer, more concentrated flavor." Here are what he considers the next big things.

Best Deal on the Market Now
You can't go wrong with a magnum of the Brunello Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo 1997 ($125). It's available almost exclusively in magnums and was rated number eight in the large-bottles category last year by Wine Spectator.

Worth Searching For
California wines are less available in the bigger bottles, but some of the major houses are starting to make them. I like the magnum size of Stags Leap Cask 23 1999 ($325), which is a blend of Cabernet and Merlot.

A Wine with Gravitas
Château Margaux Bordeaux 1982 ($2,000), in any size you can find, is a fabulous vintage. The magnum makes an impressive gift to a wine connoisseur. It has rich, concentrated flavors, and it's beginning to drink right now.

If Money is No Object
Château Latour 2000 (six-liter imperial bottle, $3,800) is one of the best Bordeaux Latour has ever made. It is incredibly rich with wonderful depth of character and explosive flavors from beginning to end.

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