Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Sometimes we hear that a wine that "needs six hours of breathing." How do they know that six hours is the right number? Why not one hour, or three, or eight? They would have to taste the wine every hour and take notes like: four hours--good, five hours--better, six hours--even better, seven hours--not as good, eight hours--getting worse.
—Craig H., Lancaster, Pa.
Believe it or not, there are winemakers who are curious enough to do exactly what you just described. Whether or not the recommendation was created with a stopwatch, please don't act as if your bottle of wine is a ticking time bomb. "Needs six hours of breathing" says they believe the wine will improve with aeration—more than you'd get by just cracking the bottle open, but less than letting it sit overnight. I know it's tempting to seek absolutes on matters of wine, but it's pretty darn subjective, especially on topics like this.
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.