Wine bottles…they come in different sizes and shapes. We learn to recognize what type of wine will mostly likely be in that bottle by its shape. When researching wine bottles for a travel book, I learned some interesting facts.
When drinking Bordeaux wines, the bottle typically has straight sides and sharp shoulders. In fact, the bottle most commonly called Bordeaux originated in, you guessed it, Bordeaux! That particular shape of bottle is said to have been designed to catch sediment in the shoulder as the wine is poured. Some say that design could have been developed to make it easy to store the bottles horizontally. You will see this shape used for traditional Bordeaux varieties…cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, petit verdot, cabernet franc, sauvignon blanc, and semillon. Wine regions around the world use this bottle shape.
Now, think about Burgundy. With gently sloping shoulders and a wider base than the Bordeaux bottle, Burgundy wine bottles differ slightly from the Bordeaux bottles. One theory says this type of bottle was one of the first created and the shape was the easiest for glass blowers to make. Burgundy varietals of pinot noir and chardonnay come in these bottles. Other regions, including wines from Barolo, Italy, and France’s Loire and Languedoc regions, also use this shape.
Picture a Champagne bottle. This one is similar in shape to the Burgundy bottle but with thicker glass and a deeper punt. Why? Due to the great amount of pressure inside the Champagne bottle and the tiny bubbles so desired, this design was created with both of those in mind.
Perhaps you like to drink Riesling wines from the Mosel region in Germany or white wines from the Alsace region. You probably recognize those wines by their tall, thin, elegant bottles. Other regions around the world may use these as well.
Like dessert wines but aren’t sure how to recognize one just by the bottle? Many people are, as dessert wine bottles come in all shapes and sizes. This has to do with the style of wine produced and the region it’s from as there really are no standards for these bottles. Think about Port wines and the sturdy, stocky bottles. Those were designed to catch the sediments in the neck of the bottle. How about the tall, impossibly thin bottles of ice wines? Elegant in looks and in tastes, these bottles may be smaller and clear.