When looking for the best wine around, some people may be swayed by the size of the bottle in which the wine is stored. After all, if you have the mentality that bigger is always better then a larger bottle is surely going to catch your eye and convince you to make a purchase.
However, there is some practicality behind having a larger bottle. For one, wines tend to age much more slowly in a larger bottle, so if you have a wine that is better consumed early in its life it can often be best to have it in a larger bottle so that its maturation is slowed down.
This also allows the wine to evolve on its own without having to worry so much about oxidation, particularly because the neck of the bottle will usually be the same size regardless of the size of the bottle.
With that in mind, we have decided to take a look at some different sizes of wine bottle to see if we can discover the differences between them or if it is all simply an aesthetic touch.
The ‘Bordeaux’ Bottle
This type of bottle is probably one that most wine lovers will be familiar with, as it is straight, slender and has high shoulder. If there was to be a standard bottle in the world of winemaking then this would probably be it.
The bottle is ideal for most kinds of wine and could be considered the “average” bottle. That doesn’t mean that it fails to serve its purpose though, as the wine contained therein can be of as high a quality as anything else. After all, there is a reason that Bordeaux has become as well-known as it is.
Though this bottle type is most associated with the Bordeaux region, it is now widely used for both reds and whites, making it the most common type of bottle for you to encounter.
The ‘Burgundy’ Bottle
Very similar in shape to the Bordeaux bottle, a Burgundy bottle differs in the sense that the main base of the bottle is just a little bit wider to account for the fact that the shoulders of the bottle slope.
It still has a fairly narrow neck and many would argue that the bottle design itself is a little more elegant than the Bordeaux model.
It is used to hold both reds and whites, with the glass itself usually being of a fairly dark green shade. Furthermore, due to its more stylish design it is often altered with slightly thicker glass or an even thicker girth, depending on the types of wine that are stored in it and the producer’s own tastes.
The ‘Champagne’ Bottle
Generally speaking a Champagne bottle will look very similar to a Burgundy bottle, but will usually be a little bit taller and a little bit wider at the base.
However, in the case of the Champagne bottle the design is actually a necessity, as we all know that uncorking such a bottle can cause a big mess as is. With a smaller bottle that has a different design you would find that you lose half of the wine before you ever get a chance to drink it.
As such, it generally has thicker glass and a wider base to allow for the wine to fizz up a little bit when the cork is popped. Of course, it is still very possible to make a mess with it, though the design aims to prevent that.
Furthermore, the larger bottle also means that the champagne within matures a little more slowly than other wines, which means that the wine itself can retain the trademark fizz that has made it so popular in so many different regions.
The ‘Côtes de Provence’ Bottle
This bottle is as much style over substance and features a fairly unique corset design that sees it have a wide base that narrows slightly in the centre of the bottle before expanding again before the neck of the bottle.
While this is an interesting design, it doesn’t serve a hugely practical purpose in terms of the wine that it holds, outside of maybe making the bottle itself a little easier to hold with one hand thanks to the narrow centre.
It is usually used to hold Rose, and the bottle itself will also often be made using clear glass to better show off the contents to anybody who might be interested.
The ‘Chianti’ Bottle
This bottle us truly one of a kind and is perhaps one of the most easily identifiable types of bottle in all of the Italian wine industry. It is perhaps no surprise that many people believe Chianti to be amongst the best wine in the world, and its unique bottle only further plays into that perception.
Featuring a wide and rounded base that is held in a straw basket, the bottle is also called a fiasco and gained popularity both because they allowed the Chianti inside to mature a little bit slower than it would in a normal bottle and also because it was easy to store as the bottle tessellate fairly well.
Unfortunately, this particular design seems to be falling out of favour in recent years, particularly since the explosion of the ‘Super Tuscans’, so it is getting harder to find fiasco bottles. Still, there are a number of traditional Chianti producers who still make use of it.
Perhaps the strangest shaped bottle of all of the ones in this list, the Bocksbeutel bottle is much more rounded than other types of bottles, even though it usually contains the same amount of wine as a standard Bordeaux or Burgundy bottle.
While this may seem like an interested design quirk at first, the interesting shape does have one practical advantage in that it makes it much more difficult for the bottle to roll away should it be placed on its side.
Better yet, the bottle shape is actually protected under the European Union, so it is unlikely that we will see it going away any time soon.