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,

What does it mean when a wine has a “foursquare finish”?

—Ron, Washington, D.C.

Dear Ron,

Though “foursquare” these days often refers to a location-based social networking website that allows folks to check in and let their friends know where they are … it actually has another meaning. A “foursquare” building or structure is solid or firm. To call a person “foursquare” is to refer to them as reliable, blunt or direct.

So a foursquare wine is direct and solid. It’s typically a positive note, though it can be a bit of a backhanded compliment, if a wine is lacking in nuance or subtlety. You should be able to tell by the context of the tasting note and the score if its foursquareishness was a positive or negative characteristic, or both.

And no, drinking a “foursquare” wine will not make you the Mayor of Wine City.

—Dr. Vinny


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