Monday, May 26, 2008

Can I get that Jeroboam to go?

The wine tasting class I took through the Caldwell Adult School culminated in a festive wine dinner at Luce. Our teacher, Dan Kifner, brought out many special wines for the occasion, including this large bottle of 1998 Ferrari-Carano Alexander Valley Chardonnay. About 40 folks sampled this bottle, and it was only half drunk by the end of the night (as opposed to the wine dinner attendees, who were wholly drunk by the end of the night).
I was always intrigued by the names of larger bottles of wine. They start with a Magnum, which is 1.5 liters. Then you move on to a 4.5 liter bottle, known as a Jeroboam. It holds six standard-size bottles of wine. The name comes from a rather naughty Israelite king who brought back golden calves among other sinful moves. Then there’s Methuselah, the longest living man in Genesis, weighing in at six liters. The largest bottles are Salmanazar, an Assyrian king (9 liters), Balthazar, a Babylonian king and big partier (12 liters), and they top out at Nebuchadnezzar, another Babylonian king who is remembered for destroying the Temple of Solomon and having a really fun name (15 liters).
At the end of our dinner Dan told me I could take the half-full Jeroboam. The still- heavy bottle stood upright in my trunk for the short ride. Once home, I transferred the contents to three empty wine bottles and put rubber stoppers into them.
I am still working my way through the remains of the Jeroboam. As for the wine itself, this California Chardonnay is a decade old, and it has aged beautifully. The color is of burnished gold. It tastes like granny smith apples and bosch pears drizzled with honey. One bottle of the 1998 sells for about $35, so I came home with over $90 worth of chard--the best leftovers I've ever had.


  1. Awesome picture!

  2. Photo credit goes to Dylan. There were complaints from readers about a lack of photography...

  3. Keep 'em coming.

  4. Now you've got me confused too.

    In Europe, Champagne Jeroboam is only 3 litres (or 4 bottle equivalent).

    Is a 4.5 litre bottle of still wine (eg Chardonnay) internationally recognised as a "Jeroboam" or is this localised to North America?