Why magnums are a passport to pleasure

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A constant conundrum for wine-lovers and pleasure-seekers is deciding which wine should follow the first.

Chances are you’ll want to keep drinking the same bottle, so the answer is to serve a magnum from the start.

For a passport to pleasure, champagne is the obvious choice throughout the summer social season and Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne, France (£81, 1.5 litres, Majestic) tastes even better from a magnum.

The wine ages more slowly, and the carbon dioxide in the wine also acts as a preservative which helps keep it fresh over time and enhances the delicate fruits and biscuity flavours.

Practical on a grand scale, a magnum will serve 12 x 125ml glasses and create some wonderful theatre.

For smaller pockets, Sainsbury’s is one of the few supermarkets to stock magnums throughout the year, and JS Blanc de Noir (£39.99, 1.5 litres, Sainsbury’s) is rarely left languishing on the shelves. A blend of black grapes (pinot noir and pinot meunier), it’s rich and vibrant with layers of lingering patisserie flavours and toasty aromas.

We all love to drink with our eyes, and the seductive pink hue of a good rose will always prompt a second bottle.

For a posh patio wine, Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Pins Couches Rose 2011, France (£19.49, 1.5 litres, www.cambridgewine.com) has a high acidity and delightful summer fruits.

The small volume of air between wine and cork creates more oxidation in a bottle than a magnum, so with a greater ratio of wine to air, the ageing process is slower in larger bottles... wines last longer, stay fresher and develop more character if cellared correctly.