Does the size of the bottle affect the taste of a wine?
When it comes to bottles, size does matter, unless you count yourself in the majority of wine buyers who tuck into their purchase within 48 hours of its arrival home. To most of you, cellaring a wine is so 17th century. You buy it for a certain occasion (which could be as pedestrian as “it’s Monday”), and liquid hits glass sooner than later.
If you cracked open a variety of bottles sizes, all containing the same wine from the same vintage, and give them a swirl, you shouldn’t discern any difference in personality.
The one caveat is age. My previous paragraph of brilliance proves itself true only with wines that haven’t been around too long, because time and wine bottle size don’t always get along so well.
That’s the reason why the current 750 ml package is the dominant design on store shelves. While its volume is just about right for sharing between two people, it also allows the wine to mature at a near-perfect rate.
I’m talking volume versus air here, folks. Over time, air trapped in the bottle starts to do its not-so-dirty work on a wine, eventually deteriorating full-bodied vino to a point where fruit, acid and (in reds) tannins are as harmonious as a Beach Boys greatest hits album.
A smaller and larger bottle each has proportionately about the same amount of air inside it as its 750 ml brethren; so it makes sense that the weenier the receptacle, the quicker its cargo will age, and vice versa for a jumbo bottle.
So yes, if you’re a collector, your bottle of choice can dictate how your wine will taste in the long run. It’s never been a problem for me; I’m way more Mr 48 hours.