Maybe you've had wine poured from a magnum in the early days at Chi Spacca, when the then-wine director had a thing for the double bottles. (Wine ages better in larger bottles than small ones.) Or maybe you've attended some swell wine event or winemaker dinner when Cabernet was poured for one and all from a Jeroboam (4 bottles) or a Methuselah (8 bottles). Some may have even come across a Salmanazar (12 bottles), Balthazar (16 bottles) or Nebuchadnezzar (20 bottles) lurking in the corner of a winemaker's cellar somewhere in Europe.
But a Goliath that holds the equivalent of 36 bottles of wine?
Now that's a show-stopper. And a bottle like that sure enough stopped the Bazaar's creator José Andrés in his tracks when he saw one in Spain.
"I was at one of my favorite places in Spain, Restaurante de la Riva in Madrid, when someone brought out this huge bottle of wine that nearly blew me away," says Andrés.
"I knew I had to bring that back to Bazaar Meat because — come on, people! Vegas is all about being big! And we wanted the biggest we could get, so now we are serving wines by the glass from bottles made just for us. The wine is from some unbelievable vineyards including Leviathan, Fable Mountain Vineyards, Qupé and Sandhi and ages astonishingly well in these bottles."
Bazaar Meat is Andrés carnivore-centric restaurant in the new SLS Hotel in Vegas, where he roasts and grills everything over wood, including suckling pig in cazuelas (wide terracotta pots), just like they do in Spain. He's also got a wood-fired grill for cooking Catalan-style pork sausage and the massive bone-in rib-eyes he ages in-house. These are all meats that require big, supple reds. And you can't get much bigger than a Qupé Syrah poured from a Goliath bottle.
The project didn't happen overnight. First he had to have four of the gigantic bottles hand-blown in Italy at a cost of $1,000 each. Then he had to add a wine keeper, the system that delivers the wine and as the wine is poured out by the glass, replaces its volume with inert gas. Those were about $5,000 each. Then he had to get the bottles to the wineries to be filled.
Lead sommelier Chloe Helfand loves the theater of those giant bottles. "We're calling the section on the wine list José and Goliath," she says, with a smile in her voice. "People see the large-format bottles on pedestals when they walk by and they want to have a glass of wine. It's really fun."
Right now Helfand's pouring Sandhi Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara at $24 a glass, $96 a carafe; 2011 Qupé Syrah "Bien Nacido Vineyard" from Santa Maria Valley at $21 a glass, $84 a carafe; 2011 Fable Mountain Vineyards "Night Sky", a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache from South Africa at $21 a glass, $84 a carafe; and 2012 Leviathan Cabernet Sauvignon blend from California at $24 a glass, $96 a carafe.
Who knows, next stop for the Goliath just might be the Bazaar in Beverly Hills.