While wine first made an appearance thousands of years ago during the Bronze Age, wine bottles as we know them have been a rather recent invention, dating back to only around 300 years ago. The discovery of the cylindrical glass bottle with a narrow neck sealed with a cork coincided with the birth of the idea that certain wines improve with age. The reason why wine bottles are designed in this way is largely because the design allows the bottles to be stored on the side so that the wine is able to make contact with the cork to ensure an oxygen-free seal.
The exact reason for the setting of 750mL as the standard size of a wine bottle has not been confirmed, but various theories have surfaced over the years. One states that 750mL was the perfect ration for one man to consume with his dinner back in the day when wine had lower alcohol levels, while another claims that it is attributed to the maximum pulmonary strength of glassblowers back when all glass bottles were still handmade.
But that’s not to say that oversized wines have not had their share of history, used during larger gatherings for both efficiency and aesthetic elegance. Wines stored in larger bottles also age slower and better than normal-sizes bottles because the proportion of exposed wine to unexposed wine decreases. Corks let oxygen in and modify the wine over time. But since oversized wines have a proportionally smaller surface area exposed to the cork, they age more slowly and produce more nuanced flavours. The ageing process of a magnum bottle of wine, for example, takes 1.5 times longer than a standard 750mL bottle.
While it is quite rare for restaurants in Hong Kong to provide oversized wines, Grissini at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong will be presenting a specially crafted five-course wine pairing menu for one month only that utilises oversized wines from various regions in Italy. The menu includes:
- Bocconcino all’ olio di oliva, polipo, salsa alla Luciana (homemade olive oil bocconcino with octopus in Luciana sauce), served with Ronco del Gelso, “Toc Bas”, Friuli Isonzo DOC 2015 – magnum
- La zuppetta di porcini, lingua di vitello, tortellini alla fava di tonka (porcini mushroom, veal tongue cube and tonka bean soup), served with Cantina del Pino, Barbaresco DOCG 2008 – magnum
- I maccheroni Gerardo di Nola, O’ Scarpariello (San Marzano tomato, caciotta cheese and chilli pepper pasta), served with Montevertine, Toscana IGT 2009 – jeroboam
- Il tenero di manzo, rapa rossa, mosto cotto (seared beef tenderloin with beetroot and celeriac cream), served with Allegrini, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011 – jeroboam
- Cioccolato 80%, lamponi, mirtilli (80% dark chocolate mousse with raspberries and blackberries), served with Masi Angelorum, Recioto della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2012
From now till 31 October 2017, the five-course wine pairing menu will be available daily from 6:30–10pm.
- Five-course menu: $980
- Five-course menu (including four wines): $1,480
- Five-course menu (including four wines + dessert wine): $1,580
2/F, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, 2584 7722, firstname.lastname@example.org