What On Earth is a Methuselah?


A friend recently bragged to me that he had bought a “Methuselah” of wine at an auction. What on earth is a Methuselah?

Answer:
Wine is usually sold in bottles holding 750ml of liquid. There are several larger sizes, like the fairly common magnum, which holds 1,5 litres, the equivalent of two ordinary bottles. A Methuselah is a larger bottle that contains six litres of wine—the equivalent of eight standard bottles.
These larger bottles (they go all the way up to a Nebuchadnezzar, which holds 15 litres) are usually bought by collectors for their novelty value. They are also said to allow wines to mature more slowly than those in smaller bottles, because of the smaller ratio of surface area to volume.
Very often these collectors’ items stand unopened in cellars, simply because there’s no occasion grand enough to warrant opening them. And once they’re opened, the magic has gone. This seems rather a pity and a waste of good wine. Suggest to your friend that you would be willing to share his Methuselah with him over a boerewors roll.

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