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,

What is a super Tuscan wine?

—Nguyen Xuan Hoang, Hanoi, Vietnam

Dear Nguyen,

In the 1970s, rebel Tuscan producers decided to use non-Italian grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah in their wines, and/or make wines outside of the Chianti zone, disqualifying these wines from using the Chianti name. They were forced to carry the label vino da tavola, or "table wine," normally meant for inexpensive, low-quality wines. These big, rich wines were nicknamed super Tuscans, and it stuck. They're usually expensive, priced at about $100 or more per bottle, and have an appeal for their renegade status. Some of the most famous super Tuscans are Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Solaia, Tignanello and Fontalloro.

—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