Levels in bottles

Bordeaux levels

Niveaux Bordeaux
  • Perfect(P)

    Level in the neck.
    Level of recent wines, superb for wines more than 10 years old.

  • Base of Neck(BN)

    Level at the base of the neck.
    Level considered to be perfect for all wines, exceptional for wines more than 10 years old.

  • Base of Neck / Very Top Shoulder(BN/VTS)

    Please refer to the "High Shoulder" and "Mid-Shoulder" descriptions.

  • Very Top Shoulder(VTS)

    Level just under the base of the neck.
    Appropriate and acceptable level for a wine more than 20 years old.

  • Very Top Shoulder / Top Shoulder (VTS/TS)

    Please refer to the "Very Top Shoulder" and "Top Shoulder" descriptions.

  • Top Shoulder(TS)

    Level just at the start of the curve in the bottle.
    Good level for wines 25 or more years old.

  • High Shoulder(HS)

    Level slightly lower in the shoulder (roughly 30% of the shoulder).
    Proper level for wines 35 or more years old.

  • High Shoulder / Mid-Shoulder(HS/MS)

    Please refer to the "High Shoulder" and "Mid-Shoulder" descriptions.

  • Mid-Shoulder(MS)

    Level in the middle of the shoulder.
    Level which suggests unsuitable storage conditions, or a problem with the cork Bottle at risk, particularly for wines less than 35-40 years old.

  • Low Shoulder and lower(LS)

    Level in the second half of the shoulder and lower.
    Indicates a poor source and storage conditions The wine is unsellable, except in exceptional cases.

  • Reconditioned(REC)

    Recorked by the chateau

Burgundy levels

Niveaux Bourgogne

Since the shape of Burgundy bottles is different from Bordeaux bottles, the level is not described with reference to the shoulder but in centimetres from the bottom of the cap.


The proper levels for Burgundy wines are generally:

  • up to 3cm for wines about twenty years old
  • up to 4cm for 30-year-old wines
  • from 5 to 7cm for wines 50 or more years old

Up to 7cm for wines 50 or more years old, the risk is limited in terms of wine quality. Wines with different levels will present a risk. That indicates storage conditions which have changed over time, a problem with the cork, etc.


Bottles with a level lower than 7cm will present a strong risk and are in general unsellable, except in rare cases.

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