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,

I bought a bottle of 2004 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and wow, very nice. When I first opened it had a very smoky taste. So strong it gave me vivid dreams last night of fire and smoke! But today that intense taste and smell experience is gone. Still enjoyable, but very different one day later. Is it normal that the drinking experience would evolve that dramatically from one day to the next as the bottle had more exposure to air?

—Paul M., Cherry Hill, N.J.

Dear Paul,

Oxygen and wine have a temperamental relationship. Sometimes a wine needs more oxygen—it's why we swirl wine glasses or bring out the decanter, so that oxygen can soften the effects of tannic, tight, reduced or closed wines. But too much oxygen and the wine fatigues and fades. Older wines have even a shorter window of exposure to oxygen before they seem to disappear.

The trick is giving the wine just enough air to catch it at the stage you prefer. For most wines, changes will be noticeable after a few hours, and definitely overnight. Some people might have more of a tolerance for wines that have been open a while—I have many friends who can't tell the difference between wines freshly opened and wines that have been open for days.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

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.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories