544 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE
The first is the Bordeaux style, with its straight lines and pronounced
“shoulder” leading to rather a straight neck. Green glass is used for red
wines and clear glass for whites. In France there is a romantic notion that
the wines of Bordeaux (blends of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet
Franc, and sometimes Petit Verdot and Malbec for red, and Semillon and
Sauvignon Blanc for white) are generally more structured and masculine in
character and hence the bottle is the same. The wines of Burgundy (Pinot
Noir and Gamay for red and Chardonnay and Aligoté for white) are considered
softer and more perfumed and feminine. Thus the bottle has a more
curvaceous, feminine style with softer shoulders.
German, Austrian and Alsatian winemakers generally use the Hock style
of bottle. The name, however, is English, as Riesling wines were traditionally
called “Hock” in England. (This English contrariness in naming wines
confused me in my teen years when I read novelists like Thackeray or Dickens
who wrote of characters drinking “Hock” and “Claret”, as I had no idea
what they were.) Hock bottles are either brown or green.
The Bocksbeutal is seldom seen, being essentially a regional style for the
wines of the Franken region of Germany. It also shows up in South Africa.
The bottles are green or clear and used for white wines.
I have also included a photograph of a Champagne bottle. It is really a
variant on a Burgundy bottle, but has a longer neck to allow the secondary
fermentation and subsequent riddling process necessary for sparkling
wines. It is also made with a thicker glass to resist the tremendous gas pressure
in the wine.
Regardless of their country of origin, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
white varietal wines generally come in clear Bordeaux bottles, in honour of
their origins in the vineyards of Sauternes and Graves. Deep green Bordeaux
bottles are used for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and red Bordeaux or
Meritage blends. Other wine areas with their own indigenous or unique
wines (Pinotage in South Africa or Zinfandel in California) generally use
the same shape. One explanation is that Bordeaux reds are usually aged and
after a few years “throw” a deposit of sediment. The high shoulder helps
catch that sediment when the wine is decanted.
Chardonnay, the premier white of Burgundy, appears in light green Burgundy
bottles that are the same height as Bordeaux bottles but with those
“feminine” shoulders. Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Chenin Blanc are also
similarly bottled in the Loire and Burgundy areas. The classic red wine of
the Burgundy region, Pinot Noir, is similarly bottled but in deeper green
glass, as are the wines of Beaujolais (primarily Gamay). Rhône blends (the
Côtes de Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape) come in a variation of Burgundy