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,

I recently opened a bottle of red wine that seemed to have a bit of “sparkle” to it. It wasn’t fizzy like Champagne, but one could feel the bite of carbon dioxide on the tongue. Is this a badly made wine, is it too young, or what?

—Fernando G., Waterville, Maine

Dear Fernando,

When a wine seems fizzy or spritzy (and it’s not supposed to be that way, like a sparkling Shiraz would be), it’s usually considered a flaw. Either some carbon dioxide was trapped inside when the wine was bottled, or the wine started to re-ferment while in the bottle, and the bubbles are a byproduct. A little fizz won’t make you sick, but I find it unpleasant, and it usually comes with a yeasty stink.

—Dr. Vinny

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