Glossary of abbreviations

For fine and rare wines in bottles which have experienced a loss of liquid, the ullage or fill level can be classified by the following definitions:

Ullage Level1. Neck – A normal fill level for young wines.

2. Base neck – A standard level for wines of any age, suggests excellent provenance.

3. Top shoulder – A common fill level for wines 3 – 4 years of age or older.

4. Very high shoulder – Acceptable fill level for wines of twenty years of age. Suggests proper storage conditions have been maintained throughout the life of the bottle.

5. High shoulder – Acceptable for wines thirty years of age. The loss of liquid to this level is usually due to an easing of the cork and natural evaporation.
Check the clarity and the color of the wine in the bottle as a secondary indicator of provenance.

6. Mid shoulder – Common for wines forty or more years of age. As additional indicators of risk, inspect clarity and color of the wine in the bottle as well as the condition of the cork.

7. Low shoulder or below – This low fill level suggests poor provenance and may be due to a deterioration of the cork or less than optimal storage conditions. (Not recommended for consumption).

Because of the shape, Burgundy (or similar bottles) does not allow a level rating system based on the shoulder of the bottle, and levels are described in centimeters measured from the base of the cork.


Bottle sizes

Half bottle: 0,375 Lt.
bt(s) bottle(s): 0,750 Lt.
Mag (Magnum): 1,5 Lt.
Jer (Jeroboam) – Burgundy, Champagne and Rhône: 3 Lt.
Imperial: 6,0 Lt.
Mat (Mathusalem) - Burgundy, Champagne and Rhône: 6 Lt.
Salmanazar: 9,0 Lt.
Balthazar: 12 Lt.
Melchior: 18 Lt.


In the description of some wines, where possible, we have reported the score of some of the most successful critics or magazines:

WS: Wine Spectator
RP: Robert Parker
JS: James Suckling
WE: Wine Enthusiast
GR: Gambero Rosso
BB: Bibenda
ES: Guide l´Espresso
SF: Slow Food

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