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 a translator and I am currently translating a text about wine. Is the word “fizzy” used in a negative way? If I am saying a wine is fizzy, am I saying it’s a bad wine?

—Anna M., Italy

Dear Anna,

It depends on the context. When “fizzy” is used to describe a sparkling wine, usually it’s just acknowledging the effervescence of it and the carbonation that creates the fizz. I’ve seen wines described as being “gently fizzy” or having a “refreshing fizz”, which are compliments to the wine. I’ve also seen the term “fizzy” used the way the Italian word “frizzante” is used, to describe wines with a lighter effervescence and fewer bubbles, such as Prosecco or sparkling Moscato. In that case, it’s neither a positive nor a negative term, just a way to describe a style.

But when non-sparkling wines are described as fizzy or spritzy, that’s when it’s a negative term, and many consider it a flaw. There are two main reasons for a wine to have unpleasant fizz with it—either some carbon dioxide was trapped inside when the wine was bottled, or the wine started to re-ferment in the bottle. Sometimes you’ll see a wine described as having a hint of fizz, or a slight fizz, and that’s most often the negative connotation.

—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 WineSpectator.com 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

MEMBER LOGIN

= 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

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

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