Go Big or Go Home with Large Format Wines

By Sotheby's

O n 11 November, Sotheby’s will hold the greatest large format sale in our history. Admittedly, the wine industry is one in which flowery superlatives flow generously. However, browse the contents of Magnificent Wines from the Park B. Smith Collection, and discover a prodigious selection that is anything short of extraordinary.

Lot 664. 3 MAGNUMS PETRUS 1982. ESTIMATE $20,000–30,000.

What makes this collection so remarkable is the unparalleled breadth of large format wines, which comprise nearly 55 per cent of the sale by volume. The sale is well-timed for the holidays – when big celebrations call for big bottles – and there is no better way to commemorate a special occasion than with a rare Double Magnum or Jeroboam. Aside from the drama and aesthetic grandeur commanded by large format bottles, there is also a more practical perk to collecting and consuming them; they are considered to be superior aging vessels. Because a smaller ratio of the wine’s surface area is exposed to air, large format bottles allow for a slower and more nuanced aging process, resulting in a fresher, more complex expression of the wine with greater longevity.


Rarely do we see such a profound offering of large formats, let alone from such incredible provenance. Mr. Smith managed to acquire large formats of the most sought-after wines in the greatest vintages, such as an Imperial and three Magnums of Pétrus in the legendary 1989 and 1982 vintages, respectively. The depth of his collection across sizes and vintages is astounding, with other highlights including the iconic Haut Brion 1989 in four different sized formats, including one Imperial, three Double Magnums and two Magnums. There are fourteen different vintages of large format Mouton Rothschild on offer, from the legendary 1959 to the celebrated 2000.

We are honoured to offer this unrivalled large format collection. Happy bidding!

For a refresher on all the formats – from 350 millilitre half bottles to 18 litre Melchiors – watch Know Your Wine: A Guide to Bottle Sizes.  

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