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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,
When a wine is described as having a "linear" characteristic, what exactly is that?
—Karl, Geneva, Ill.
A "linear" wine is straightforward, precise or direct. Some wines gain momentum as you taste them, others lose momentum, and some have a middle phase that sticks out. But a linear wine finishes as it begins, and there are no real surprises. Depending on the context, this can be either a positive or a negative trait. If you love the flavors and intensity of a wine, and it's linear, that's a good thing. If it's kind of a simple wine that leaves you wanting more, you might wish it were a bit less linear.
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