Choosing White Wine
Choosing Red Wines
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The Evolution Of The Bottle
The Effect Of Bottle Size
Traditional Shapes And Colours
Modern Wine Bottles

Most wines are bottled in three basic shapes. For reds, there are the bottles with a sloping shoulder used in Burgundy and the Rhone, and the straighter-sided, high-shouldered sort used in Bordeaux. Both are green; white wines from the same regions adopt identical shapes to the local reds, with burgundies in green and bordeaux in clear glass. The third main shape is the tall "flute" of the Rhine and Mosel. Rhine wines use brown glass, Mosels and Alsace wines, green.

Other wine regions use all of these. Italy and Spain offer all variations of shape and colour, with few consistent themes; though brown glass is normal for Italian reds.

Some regions preserve traditional shapes: Germany's Franken region and nearby districts have the bocks-beutel a squat, bulbous flat-sided bottle. The Jura has its own shape and size for Chateau-Chalon: the short da.ve.lin of 62cl reflects the amount left from a litre after the evaporation of six years in cask. Other, less venerable, shapes include the Provence "skittle" and the similar bottle used for Italy's Verdicchio. Vintage port uses a variant on the high-shouldered, straight-sided bottle, with a slight bulge in the neck. The straw wrapping on Chianti's flask or fiasco, little used today, is a relic of the protective sheafs necessary when glass was very fragile.

Champagne and other sparkling wines use a sloping-shouldered bottle made of thick glass to with stand the pressure of the gases inside

 
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