Check out the new, mobile-friendly WineSpectator.com!
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,
Will wines get less “tight” as they age?
—Thomas K., Northbrook, Ill.
Maybe. When a wine is described as “tight,” it means that it is expressionless or closed. The good news is that it’s kind of a backhanded compliment, suggesting that the aromas, flavors and structure are there, just not demonstrative at the moment. I usually hear the term in reference to young wines.
Aging a wine might loosen it up, and so might aerating it in your glass or in a decanter. But the problem is you don’t know how long the wine will need to unwind, and I’ve had plenty of older wines that you would think would be relaxed, but they were still tannic and hard-edged, just older.
If you have an austere, tight wine and you’re going to give it some time in a cellar to relax, be sure it has optimal cellar conditions to give it the best chance at unwinding. Keep in mind, though, that some wines are just less expressive than others, no matter how old they are.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
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.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered