Jeff’s Corner 7-13-17

Howdy and Howdy

After hours last Saturday, I was hanging out with some cronies from work enjoying a glass of wine when the conversation turned to wine bottles, specifically why they have different shapes and colors.  I snidely told them they should read Jeff’s Corner, but then realized it had been years since I wrote about this.  So, here’s a refresher, it’s pretty cool stuff.

The answer has to do with tradition, geography, grape varieties, and a little bit of pragmatism.  First, the name of the bottle is the same as its geographic origin, and grapes indigenous to that region tend to be bottled in that shape in other parts of the world.

“Bordeaux” bottles are straight, with high, square shoulders, and are usually dark green for reds and clear for whites.  When wines were less filtered, reds from Bordeaux would throw a lot of sediment; and the crook in the shoulder would trap it, thus keeping it out of the glass if the wine was poured slowly.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Sauvignon Blanc (all Bordeaux grapes), Zinfandel, and many Italian wines are found in this shape.

“Burgundy” and “Rhone” bottles have sloped shoulders with a smooth angle, and are typically lighter green in color.  Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (from Burgundy) along with Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Viognier (from the Rhone Valley) are most often found in this style.

“Alsace”, “Mosel”, and “Rhine” bottles also have sloped shoulders, but are taller and thinner than Burgundy bottles.  Rhine bottles are usually brown, while Mosel and Alsace are green.  Riesling and Gewurtztraminer are typically bottled in these.

Sparkling wine and Champagnes are always in a Burgundian bottle, but with much thicker glass and a deep indentation, called a punt, in the bottom of the bottle.  These give the bottle extra strength, allowing it to withstand the 4 atmospheres of pressure trapped in the bubbly.

So, once again, here’s even more wine history and romance to dazzle (and bore) your friends with.