OK, let’s truly geek out and discuss wine bottle shapes.
You probably haven’t given much thought to the anatomy of the vessel your vino comes in.
However, bottle styles are steeped in tradition and subconsciously you likely gravitate to a particular shape based on your favourite varietals.
In fact, if you can recognize the three most common bottle shapes, Bordeaux, Burgundy and hock, you’ll be able to deduce what kind of wine is in each.
For instance, Bordeaux is the most common bottle shape in the world named after the winemaking region of France.
The Bordeaux bottle has straight sides and high, distinct shoulders and is usually filled with the region’s famous red blends containing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot or white blends made up of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle.
The bottle will generally be dark green or brown for reds to protect them from the light and light green or clear in order to show off a white wine’s alluring straw colour.
While there’s a theory the Bordeaux bottle’s strong shoulders catch sediment as the wine is poured, bottle shape is more likely tied to a region’s glassblowing traditions.
That means bottle shape doesn’t enhance or detract from a wine’s quality and taste, so wineries could easily mix and match shapes to varietals if they wanted to.
However, most wineries, in both the Old World and the New World, stick to tradition because, after all, it’s tradition.
The Burgundy bottle is again named after a French winemaking region.
It has a wider base and sloping shoulders and is used to hold Burgundy’s signature red and white wines – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
A Burgundy-shape bottle with slight modifications is generally used for varietals associated with France’s Rhone Valley (Viognier and Syrah) and France’s Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc and Gamay/Beaujolais).
Champagne and sparkling wines are traditionally in a little slimmer Burgundy-shaped bottle, but the glass is much thicker to handle the pressure of the bubbles.
Hock, also known as Alsace, Riesling or Mosel, is the tall-and-thin shaped bottle with gently sloping shoulders.
It was first associated with the Rieslings made in France’s Alsace wine region.
Since Alsace borders Germany, the hock bottle is also the go-to for German Rieslings.
The hock is also preferred for other aromatic and off-dry wines similar to Riesling such as Gewurztraminer and Ehrenfelser.
Generally, the bottle is made of green glass for German wines and brown for French wines.
Roses are appearing in clear hocks to show off the pink hue in a slim bottle.
The birthplace of Rose – France’s Provence region – traditionally uses clear, curvy bowling-pin shaped bottles to showcase its pinks.
These seven wines are traditional Bordeaux varietals in traditional Bordeaux-shaped bottles.
The Singletree 2016 Merlot ($26) from Naramata is classic of the varietal with lush plum and cherry aromas and flavours.
The limited-production Lunessence 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon ($35) displays blueberry, blackberry and spice.
Mouton Cadet Bordeaux wines from Baron Philippe de Rothchild are some of the bestselling French wines in B.C. for their consistently good quality and affordable price.
Mouton Cadet Red ($17) is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc that delivers blackberry, black currant and cinnamon.
Mouton Cadet White ($16) is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle that provides a punch of lemon, apricot and coriander herb.
Mission Hill 2018 Reserve White Meritage ($22) from West Kelowna utilizes the Meritage term that applies to Bordeaux-style blends in the New World.
Mission Hill’s version is a grapefruit and apricot explosion of 51% Sauvignon Blanc and 49% Semillon.
Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc 2018 ($20) is a fresh drink with aromas and flavours of gooseberry, lime and passionfruit.
Township 7 Rose 2018 ($25) is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot that comes in a clear Bordeaux-shaped bottle to show of its coral colour and hint of its strawberry, raspberry and cream aroma and flavour.
Following are seven Burgundy beauties in traditional-shaped bottles.
My wife, Kerry, has declared Coolhanagh 2016 Chardonnay ($37) from Naramata her new favourite white wine for its beguiling apple-lime-and-caramel profile.
From the same winery, the Coolhanagh 2016 Pinot Noir ($35) is uplifted cherry with some subtle herbaceousness.
Singletree 2015 Chardonnay ($17.50) from Naramata will please with aromas and flavours of peach and pineapple with a kiss of oak.
Singletree 2017 Pinot Noir ($22) is bright cherry and vanilla.
La Petite Perriere 2017 Pinot Noir ($20) from France is classic Old World Pinot with a profile of dried cherry, raspberry and vanilla with a hint of earthiness.
The La Petite is imported by Vancouver-based Renaissance Wine Merchants and is available at most government liquor stores in the Okanagan.
Haywire 2018 Pinot Noir ($27) from Summerland displays fresh cherry and minerality from fermentation in large concrete tanks.
Harper’s Trail 2018 Pinot Noir ($23) from Kamloops showcases an engaging cherry-vanilla-cocoa profile.
Pour your aromatics from these tall hock-shaped bottles.
Harper’s Trail 2018 Pioneer Block Riesling ($18) from Kamloops is a platinum-medal-winner from the Lieutenant Governor Wine Awards for its apple-pear-lime-and-flint perfection.
Narrative 2018 Riesling ($23) from Summerland takes textured minerality to a whole new level backed by a lime and peach aromas and flavours.
Nik Weis St. Urbans-Hof 2018 Riesling ($27) from Germany’s Mosel Valley is a complex, off-dry aromatic with a smoky-floral nose and apricot-melon minerality.
Summerhill Pyramid 2017 Riesling ($28) from Kelowna balances acidy and sweetness nicely for a drink that’s tangy lemon-lime and lush peach-apricot.
The View 2018 Gewurztraminer ($18) from East Kelowna is classic of the varietal with an off-dry and balanced expression of lychee, peach, ginger and honey.
The View 2018 Ehrenfelser ($20) is also off-dry and balanced with a lush nectarine-passionfruit-and-kiwi profile.
The View 2018 Rose ($23) is in a clear hock bottle to show off its pinkness and tease the fun and off-dry wine within, which exhibits strawberry and cotton candy.
Steve MacNaull is a reporter with The Okanagan Weekend. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also catch Steve’s Okanagan Wine & Dine Show on OkanaganValleyRadio.com on Saturday’s at 11:15 a.m. If you miss it then, it’s always in the podcast vault.