Wine Bottle Sizes


Handy reference to settle arguments around the table and Biblical Kings Abound:

187.5ml Piccolo or Split: It is typically used for a single serving;

375ml Demi or Half;

500ml Jennie / Half Carafe;

750ml Standard;

1.0L Litre / Carafe;

1.5L Magnum: or two standard bottles;

2.25L Marie Jeanne;

3.0L Double Magnum / Jeroboam –  four standard bottles;

4.5L Rehoboam: six standard bottles (Champagne);

6.0L Imperiale / Methuselah: eight standard bottles;

9.0L Salmanazar: twelve standard bottles / a case;

12.0L Balthazar: sixteen standard bottles;

15.0L Nebuchadnezzar: twenty standard bottles;

18.0L Melchior: twenty-four standard bottles;

26.25L Sovereign / Champagne Taittinger;

27.0L Primat / Goliath (Champagne);

30.0L Melchizedek




Illustration credit:

The taxing cost of drinking Wine in Ireland

The recent imposition of an additional 45% / €1 in excise duty on a standard 75cl bottle of wine will add well over €2.50 to the cost for a customer of a bottle of wine in a restaurant.

Greedy, cynical, self interested Government politicans & officials thinking: those who drink wine can afford to pay a few extra Euro. Tosh.

A wine drinker imbibing three €10 bottles a week already contributes €633 in Duty and VAT per year, this nasty tax rise will add over €150 to that figure, coming close to a grand in tax for the annual pleasure of sipping even average fermented grapes.

The duty is now €3.19 (€6.37 on a bottle of Fizz) and as most Shippers, Restaurateurs and Retailers regard duty as a cost, a full 23% of the total cost on or off trade is VAT.

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The tax take on a €10 bottle of wine is approximately 50%, but reduces to about a third of a €20 bottle of wine. And, you are getting significantly more grape and terroir; technically 5 times the quality in a €20 bottle as in a €10 bottle.

This quality rises exponentially the more you invest.

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So a suggestion:

Drink less but enjoy better value by spending more per bottle;

Buy good or better quality wine to reduce the tax take to those inept and cynical twonk Politicans & Civil Servants;

Of course, the Revenue still get their money and the distributor and retailers still retain their margins, however, you will be getting a much better wine and will help to add more value for the producer.

Stop whining I hear you say.

We spit so you don’t have to …

… writes Ernie Whalley in last week’s Sunday Times 2013 Wine Companion, an insert in the July 14th edition.


110 wines tasted and reviewed.

Can’t say I disagree with the methodology or even with most of the tasting comments, though I have heard a few of them before.

In fact, I think Whalley’s Terroir notes are quite good.

What strikes me is the types and status of wines tasted and promoted by a mass middle market ‘Quality’ Sunday Newspaper.

Not to mention the vast value for money producing regions and territories completely ignored by a Wine ‘companion’.

Puglia. Loire Valley. Sardinia. Anyone?

A quick tot reveals that it would cost almost €2500 to stock your cellar with just one of each of the 110 bottles.

Yielding an average cost of €22.33 per bottle tasted.


A hefty wedge for a bottle of wine.

For which you would, not unreasonably, expect the wine to rate in the top Decile.

At these prices, swallow, don’t spit.

As one of my sisters in law says, there’s no need to spend more than a tenner a bottle in the off-trade these days, even with our tyrannical excise duty and VAT on wine.

Certainly for everyday drinking, given the many promotions and competition between the multiples.

For special occasions – and perhaps this is what the Sunday Times is aiming for, like its Michelin 3 Star  AA Gill restaurant reviews – OK perhaps, but it smacks to me of: we have a great idea; let’s set up a wine club; review the wines the shippers will give us the best deals on; get a local hack on board; flog the hell out of it – the more expensive the better – the more we’ll make.


Me, perhaps.

The Sunday Times, yes.

Maybe we should all spit.

In praise of a well designed corkscrew


A pal worked for Le Creuset and introduced us to their Screwpull and Lever-arch corkscrew models early on. The Teflon coated stainless steel screws could extract the most difficult of corks with ease and it was claimed they could run to 10,000 corks before needing replacement.

Even they, however, struggled with the stupid plastic dense synthetic ‘corks’ which could probably outlast a cockroach in a holocaust. Mainly used by cheaper producers these ‘corks’ are a nuisance to remove, impervious to all but the most blunt of attacks short of slicing the top of the bottle off with a Sabre, the Cavalry way.

So it is a pleasure to use this very well designed Alessi Parrot Corkscrew. It has a two stage action pull which allows you to work with even delicate or fragile corks and it lifts long or tough corks straight out of the neck with ease. The mini penknife is a very useful foil cutter. It’s not cheap, but the good solid Aluminium construction suggests it will go the distance. Comes is a variety of colour schemes to match your mood.

Alessi Waiter's Mate Open                                         Alessi Waiter's Mate

A visit to Chapter One

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A special outing to a special Restaurant for John’s Birthday.

For the day that was in it we decided to take the Wine Tasting Suggestions along with the special tasting menu. Very good food complimented by a very well curated wine list. Great & witty service turned it into a memorable occasion.
As well as the wines on the list, we were also introduced to Portugese specials Azamor and Esporao and we will definitely watch out for these again.

Two happy fed and watered punters in front of the Stiletto:


Christmas and New Year 2012

A motley cru of wines we enjoyed over Christmas and into the new year:

It’s a sparkler, classy:

Cremant de Loire M.Bonnamt (Small)  Cremant de Loire M.Bonnamt (2) (Small)

One of the most reliable wines of the last few years. From Cellar Master. Alan tells me this is the House Wine in Rick Stein’s of Padstow. Smashing grapefruit hit, if you like that kind of thing.

 Hoit Poitou Sauvignon Blanc Le Bois de la Tour (Small)  Hoit Poitou Sauvignon Blanc (Small)

Consistently good claret. Half Merlot, half Cabernet blend. Silky, unobtrusive.  Went well with New Year

Mademoiselle L Haut-Medoc 2009 (2) (Small)  Mademoiselle L Haut-Medoc 2009 (Small)

Always reliable, the Old Widow:

Veuve Clicquot (Small)  Veuve Clicquot (2) (Small)

Nice and light, in-offensive and not unpleasant (!):

Chateau Liversay Haut Medoc 2008 (2) (Small) Chateau Liversay Haut Medoc 2008 (Small)

Vouvray (Chenin Blanc from Vouvray) is a style that appears to have disappeared from fashion, a shame, because this was competent:

 Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray (Small)  Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray (2) (Small)

Looks imposing but a pussy cat. Enjoyable, but didn’t live up to the cover:

Lussac Saint Emilion 2010 (Small)  Lussac Saint Emilion 2010 (2) (Small)

A real stonker, explosive nose, great length, powerful stuff:

Chateauneuf du Pape Domaine Duclaux 2006 (Small) Chateauneuf du Pape Domaine Duclaux 2006 (2) (Small)


This Berbera by Berro from Piedmonte was very pleasant. Must research it properly.

Berro Barbera (Small) Berro Barbera 2 (Small)





In honour of our Spanish guests, we served the Marques as the Red with the Christmas Dinner. Consistently good.

Marques de Riscal 2007 (Small)





This was surprisingly good value in Baan Thai, Leopardstown, where we had our annual Christmas catch up with John & Susan

Masi Campofiorin (Small) Masi Campofiorin 2 (Small)