The Balthazar belongs to the family of 16 sizes of wine bottles that can be found in Champagne.
What is the capacity of a Balthazar of Champagne?
The capacity of a Balthazar of champagne is 12 litres, the equivalent of 16 bottles of 75cl, or 96 glasses of champagne.
Only the bottled champagnes, Magnum and Jeroboam have been aged in their original bottle. The bottles of champagne with a capacity of more than 3 litres were first bottle-aged and then decanted into the final bottle after development.
What does the name Balthazar mean?
The name Balthazar is of biblical origin. Depending on the source, Balthazar may refer to one of the wise men who came to meet Christ after his birth. It can also be derived from Balthazar, the last king of Babylon, who was known to have been defeated by Cyrus (king of the Persians) while feasting, hence the expression "Balthazar's feast" to define a sumptuous meal.
Does the size of the bottle influence the quality of the wine?
The size of the bottle does indeed have an influence on the quality of the wine. The exchange of air between the cork and the wine is less in a large format than in a bottle, which limits its oxidation. In addition, because of their large capacity, large bottles release the complexity and aromatic palette of the wine.
What is the best way to open a Balthazar of Champagne?
To open a Balthazar of Champagne properly, given that it is held in place by a muselet (a wire cage), the bottle must be turned around the cork and not the other way round in order to preserve the bubbles and taste that give a good champagne its charm. Then gently remove the cork and serve in a glass tilted at 45°. If the cork is removed too quickly, a sparkling stream will be produced. This "stacking" phenomenon is due to an excessive concentration of bubbles. You can also sabre the Balthazar of champagne by breaking its neck with a knife or other sharp object. The shockwave, combined with the pressure of the wine in the bottle, ejects the cork and the muselet.
At what temperature should a Balthazar de Champagne be served?
The Balthazar Champagne can ideally be served at a temperature of 8-10°C. Because of its large capacity, this large format needs to be chilled for longer than a classic bottle, and will be less subject to rapid temperature variations.