Chances are you don’t notice the shape of your wine bottle. Most of us lump them into two categories and don’t really think about it. The type of bottle, though, is a way to remember what you like. This is great if you’re exploring new wines and broadening your palate. Remembering the bottle shape helps you narrow down that wine you’re trying to remember when you head to the store after tasting something good at a friend’s house or restaurant. The color of the glass also gives clues to the wine inside so stay tuned until they end for a few notes on that.

Understanding Common Wine Bottle Shapes

The most common wine bottle shapes are Bordeaux and Burgundy.

The Bordeaux bottle is tall and straight with high shoulders. This is the original bottle shape probably the most common. You’ll find Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec reds in this bottle. When it comes to whites, Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and Sauternes come in this shape.The Bordeaux wine bottle shape is straight with high shoulders.

The Burgundy bottle has a long neck and sloped shoulders. It’s wider than other bottles. Burgundy bottles are commonly associated with Pinot Noir but also hold Chardonnay, Syrah and Grenache. A white in a Bordeaux bottle is likely oak aged. If you like oaked whites, gravitate toward these sloped shouldered bottles.Burgundy wine bottles are wider and have sloping shoulders.

Sometimes you'll see a bottle that is similar to a Burgundy but thinner. This is called a Mosel or Alsatian bottle. You'll often find wines from northern Europe in these bottles. Riesling, Gewurztraminer and other wines that were originally transported by ship on the river are still bottled in these delicate, slender containers. The thin shape allowed more to fit inside ships. Many ice wines come in Mosel bottles.

What About The Color Of Wine Bottles?

While there are a variety of hues, we’ll focus on green and clear. The two most common greens are champagne green, which is dark. Then there’s dead leaf green, which is more of a yellow green. Finally, there are clear bottles. But what do they mean?

The darker the color, the longer the wine is meant to be aged. Sun and even artificial light are bad for wine which is why wine fridges have dark glass and serious collectors have cellars. If wine comes in a clear bottle it’s meant to be drunk right away. The darker the glass, the longer you can store it. This is great to remember when you are shopping with building your collection in mind: get the darkest bottles possible.

Speaking of shopping to build your wine collection, come visit us! The staff at Jersey Wine & Spirits are happy to help you select bottles to enjoy now, in a bit, and in several years.