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,

Do the tasters for Wine Spectator truly blind-taste ALL wines? Often a tasting note will make a specific reference such as "best yet from this estate." Do they go back later and adjust the notes once they know who, where, and what?

—Liesl, Tahoe, Calif.

Dear Liesl,

All Wine Spectator reviews of newly-released wines are based on blind tastings, where the producer and price of the wine are not identified (vintage, varietal and appellation may be identified). The wines are not unveiled until after the scores are given. At that point, tasters may modify the tasting note—to explain, for example, that a wine received the highest score ever for the estate. But the scores are never changed. Some wines are tasted non-blind—in vertical tastings, for example—but this is always disclosed in the tasting note.

—Dr. Vinny


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