|I'm just there for size comparison|
He makes 25 Melchisedechs a year, and six to seven burst from the pressure. The rest he sells for 4500 euros (about $6000 each).
That might sound like a lot, but the bottle alone costs 1500 euros (about $2000) to make. And 30 liters, that's 40 normal-sized bottles of Champagne. Drappier says he doesn't make a profit on them; he just likes being the biggest.
Because of the potential for explosion, a Champagne manufacturer is an unlikely candidate to make the world's largest wine bottle. There's a good story.
"We had a good customer, a doctor whose name was Balthazar," Drappier says. "So he wanted a Balthazar (a 12-litre bottle) every year for his birthday. But he had more and more friends, and his birthday celebration got bigger and bigger. The Balthazar was too small. We created a Nebuchadnezzar (15 liters) for him. Still too small. His birthday party just got bigger every year."
Other companies make Nebuchadnezzars; not a whole lot, but they're out there. Go past 15 liters and you're into the realm of true exotica. I could not find evidence of a still wine made in anything larger than a Melchior (18 liters). Drappier blew past that years ago, special ordering from Italy a 27-liter bottle he named the Primat, and finally, the Melchisedech.
|Michel Drappier (right) and his father Andre|
Drappier says pouring the Melchisedech is a two-person job, and he recommends that buyers pour it into a few decanters, pitchers or other large receptacles (the Tokyo Dome?) rather than try and hit the target on wine flutes.
The sad news is, Balthazar the good doctor never drank from the Melchisedech; he passed away. Hopefully in Heaven there's a 36-liter bottle. Maybe he gets to name it.