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 is meant by the term "structured" when used to describe a wine?

—Timothy W., Vancouver, British Columbia

Dear Timothy,

"Structure" refers to the relationship of elements in wine such as acid, tannin, glycerol, alcohol and body. That may sound a bit esoteric, but you could think of it this way: Structure doesn't describe flavor, and it doesn't describe texture; structure describes the other impressions of a wine. Think of a building—no matter what architectural style it may embody, the structure might be sturdy or flimsy, so you might expect the building to stay standing for a long time, or risk falling down. Similarly, a wine with good structure is more likely to age well, while a wine lacking in structure is unlikely to improve in the cellar.

—Dr. Vinny


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