In praise of the half-bottle – The Property Chronicle
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In praise of the half-bottle

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This article was originally published in autumn 2020.

Though the smaller format has a shorter shelf life, it provides the benefit of maturing faster – and is often the perfect amount.

I am still finding it very hard to wean myself off my lockdown beverage, the half-bottle of wine. I live on my own, and the 375ml is the perfect fit for a middle-aged wine merchant who is reasonably mindful of the temptations that go with an ever-lengthening career in booze. Magnums of tequila might well have offered interesting angles on the various government responses to coronavirus, but probably an unwise shout, all things considered.

I had completely forgotten how much pleasure the smaller format brings to the table. Back in the 1990s, halves were everywhere, offering excellent flexibility, especially in restaurants: ideal for a solo diner or à deux, even
two between three – sommeliers were constantly asking for availabilities of both colours. And supplies were relatively short, as growers only bottled to order.

Then things tailed off: more wines started to be offered by the glass, and recently posh Enomatic machines have come into play enabling a variety of measures to be dispensed while keeping the wine free of oxidation (accountants punched the air in triumph as wastage severely reduced). Even that most dependable of staples, the dessert wine, fell out of favour.






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About Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts

Mark Roberts joined the wine trade as a graduate trainee for John Harvey & Sons in 1986. However, rather than piling into the Bristol Cream, he instead found himself based in the wine merchant division’s London office in Pall Mall. From there, he swapped SW1 for NW1, joining Laytons, and then skulked south of the Thames to SE1, Charles Taylor Wines, in 1996. He now works for Decorum Vintners Ltd, which he helped set up in 1999, and where the focus is very much on the offerings of small wine-growers, specialising in France and Italy.

Articles by Mark Roberts

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