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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am arranging a vertical tasting and would like your input. Is it always done by earliest year forward, or do the factors surrounding the specific year’s characteristics come into play?

—David S., Los Angeles

Dear David,

I’ve had vertical tastings (of different vintages of the same wine) that go in either direction. When they go from oldest to youngest, the older wines are often less tannic and lighter-bodied than younger wines, so there’s a natural progression of body and tannins. Sometimes that’s really helpful, because tannins can cling to your mouth and make it tough to appreciate more elegant, lighter wines.

But most of the time I see verticals go from younger to older, with the thinking that the older wines will be more complex and nuanced than their younger counterparts. It also follows the progression of a wine’s evolution. Either way, a vertical is a great chance to look for a common thread in a wine.

—Dr. Vinny


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