ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

When I was younger, about 25 years ago, my father took us to a Chinese restaurant that put wine on our ice cream. Do you have any idea what kind of wine it was? I’m thinking a claret. Did they do something to thicken it or just serve it as is?

—Debbie, Lyndhurst, N.J.

Dear Debbie,

I’m going to guess that was a Port, a sweet, thick fortified wine that some people think makes a pretty good Wine of the Year. I’ve also seen that done with Sherry, another wine that often has some distilled spirits added to it, making it fortified, and is also a little thicker than most. I’d be surprised if it were a claret—an old nickname for red Bordeaux wines—since a dry red and a sweet ice cream might not be such a good match.

They probably just poured the Port directly on the ice cream—I’ve seen that done in some old-school steak houses—but it’s certainly possible they reduced it on the stove to make a thicker sauce, too, especially if they were serving it to children.

The Port/ice cream combo is terrific—it’s great on vanilla ice cream and equally great on chocolate ice cream.

—Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories