Every other month, our 5 to Try series showcases five examples of stellar wines from varying wine styles, grapes, and Germany’s 13 winegrowing regions. This month we’re showcasing the diversity of German wine outside the bottle as well, by highlighting the range of shapes and sizes in which you can find the region’s offerings!
While the bottle shape or size doesn’t affect the taste of the wine, it can tell you some history about the wine you’re drinking. Each bottle shape relates back to the original region in which it was made. Today, differently-shaped bottles typically honor the local tradition of winemaking by showcasing wines in the bottle shapes of their origins.
1. 1-Liter Bottle
Example: Borell-Diehl Müller-Thurgau Trocken, Pfalz
The 1-Liter bottle, as the name states, holds one liter of wine. About a third of the size larger than the standard 750 mL bottle of wine, this shape holds seven glasses of wine and is more commonly used for European wines. The Borell-Diehl Müller-Thurgau Trocken, available in this larger format, features medium acidity with scents of citrus and flavors of green apple – a true crowd-pleaser in profile and in a size that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family.
2. Riesling Flute
Example: Hexamer Quarzit Riesling, Nahe
The Riesling flute, also known as the Mosel or Alsatian bottle, is easily identified by its tall height with narrow shoulders and a narrow base. It’s believed this shape was developed to accommodate smaller river ships, as Rieslings were once transported this way along the Rhine River. Wine merchants of the past wanted to pack as much product as possible in their ship’s hull, influencing the design of this more compact bottle that you’ll still find most Rieslings sporting today. This example hails from the Nahe, which is both the name of the region and the river that runs through it. The Hexamer Quarzit Riesling boasts an intense acidity balanced by gentle notes of peach and apple.
Example: Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Scheurebe Kabinett Trocken, Franken
The shape of the Bocksbeutel is distinctly German and dates back to the 18th Century. This rounded, flattened shape originated specifically in the Franken region. Today, the Bocksbeutel is a protected bottle shape of the European Union, meaning that only certain wines can be bottled in this fashion. The Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Scheurebe Kabinett Trocken meets the criteria. With tropical notes, this wine features a crisp minerality and a light acidity, and will certainly be unique centerpiece at your dinner table.
4. Burgundy Bottle
Example: Ziereisen Blauer Spätburgunder, Baden
The Burgundy bottle dates back to the 19th Century, with experts theorizing that its curved shape was the easiest for glassmakers to create. This shape is characterized by its round appearance towards the base with elegantly sloped shoulders. Though historically this bottle shape was used for Burgundy wines, today wines made from Burgundy varieties (i.e. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) or those of similar flavor profiles are typically stored in this type of bottle. One example is the Ziereisen Blauer Spätburgunder, with Spätburgunder being the German name for Pinot Noir. Grown in a limestone terroir and aged for 22 months in wooden barrels, the Ziereisen Blauer Spätburgunder is a medium-bodied wine with a bouquet of red cherries, delicate floral aromas, and an elegance that lives up to the bottle shape.
5. Half or Demi Bottle (375mL)
Example: Weingut Dr. Nägler Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Beerenauslese, Rheingau
The 375 mL bottle, known as the half or demi bottle, is a less commonly-found option that holds a total of two and a half glasses. This shape allows wine-lovers to sample more wines at a lower price, though wine ages more quickly than a standard 750 mL due to the higher proportion of liquid and oxygen contact. Very often, dessert wines are bottled in this format, and the Weingut Dr. Nägler Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Beerenauslese is one such example. Beerenauslese is a classification of wines made from individually selected, overripe berries, and Weingut Dr. Nagler’s offering is lusciously sweet with a floral bouquet and pronounced notes of citrus and honey.
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