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 prefer red wines, and I've seen the movie, but I cannot figure what all the fuss is about Pinot Noir! I've yet to taste one I like, and many have been highly rated and considered outstanding. I can't think of a red grape variety that I haven't enjoyed on more than one occasion, but Pinot Noir escapes me. Am I the only one out there who doesn't get it?

—Doyle S., Camarillo, Calif.

Dear Doyle,

Of course not. In fact, you might consider yourself lucky. Pinot Noir can be such a heartbreaking grape, from both the producing and the consuming sides. When it's good, Pinot Noir is a silky-smooth, aromatic wine, light and delicate. It's the ultimate food wine, with nuances and textures that transcend many other varietals. When it's second-rate, Pinot Noir can be a disappointing blow to the wallet. If you want to jump safely on the Pinot Noir bandwagon, ask your favorite wine retailers for some advice, and explain which red wines you like so they can pick a Pinot Noir in line with the style you're most likely to appreciate.

—Dr. Vinny


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