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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.




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Dear Dr. Vinny,

For some of the German wines you rate I notice an asterisk after the style, e.g. "spatlese*." What is the significance of the asterisk? Are these different than ones without the asterisk?

—Doug J., Appleton, Wis.

Dear Doug,

Some German producers distinguish a bottling of a special selection of grapes with either a gold capsule or stars to denote what they believe is a superior wine. (For producers that put gold capsules on all wines, the stars help make this distinction). These selections are usually riper than those designated for regular bottlings. This most often occurs within the auslese category, where a starred selection might indicate grapes affected by botrytis, to differentiate it from regular auslese that contains non-botrytis grapes. In our database, we make note of both gold caps and stars, which are shown as asterisks.

—Dr. Vinny

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