Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

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

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is the difference between a claret and Cabernet or, for that matter, Merlot? Is it that it is less dry? What other red wine does claret most closely resemble?

—Iva, Salt Lake City

Dear Iva,

Today the word "claret" is associated with the red wines of Bordeaux (which are based on Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, usually), but it's really just a descriptive term for red-hued wine. British wine lovers embraced the term (as did some authors and poets), and eventually it became synonymous with wines made in the Bordeaux style.

—Dr. Vinny

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

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.