A standard 750 milliliter bottle holds slightly more than 25 ounces. Double that to 50 ounces and divide it by, say, 5 ounces, which is a pretty decent pour for a single glass of wine. That gives you about 10 glasses of wine per 1.5 liter bottle – far too much for two people to enjoy at a single sitting for dinner.
At my house, and I’m sure at many of yours, you’ll always find a few wine bottles on the kitchen counter and in the refrigerator in various stages of completion. Provided they don’t get used in cooking, they’re usually poured out. It’s a sad ritual akin to throwing away a worn out pair of your favorite shoes; they were great for awhile, but all they’re doing now is taking up space.
So why buy a 1.5 liter bottle at all? The main reason is because it’s a great size to serve at large gatherings and parties. Unfortunately, there are a lot of marginal quality wines produced at this volume, with California the leading culprit. But if you do a little sifting around you can find a few good ones out there at some really reasonable prices.
I’ve also had good results with Washington’s Hogue Cellars Non-Vintage Harvest White (about $12). It’s a nice wine in the 1.5 liter size, with plenty of crisp apple flavors and a slightly sweet finish.
From Spain’s Rioja region, the Cortijo III 2006 Tinto (about $20) is a super buy for 1.5 liters. This red wine blend of 80 percent tempranillo and 20 percent Garnacha displays lots of dried cherry flavors, an underlying trace of smokiness, and a good dash of acidity.
If you must serve a California wine, Barefoot Cellars is probably one of the better options available. The wines are very fruit-forward and tend to appeal to those who drink wine less frequently. They also come in a variety of choices – ranging from chardonnay and pinto grigio to zinfandel and merlot – and all are priced at about $11 for a 1.5 liter bottle.