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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.




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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am in the process of building a wine cellar. A friend of mine (whom I believe has at least some knowledge) said that only certain reds, from certain vineyards, are worth aging in a cellar, and that this had not only to do with the grape used but also the process that the individual winery used. Is this correct? If so, how does one then determine a winery that would use such a process?

—Mark P., Gainesville, Fla.

Dear Mark,

I think I understand what your friend was trying to say, but it's a little more complicated than just "Winery X uses THE age-worthy process." Vintners make hundreds of winemaking decisions. The result is that some wines drink well upon release, while others will improve with cellaring. And there are plenty of wines that taste great upon release and will improve with cellaring. The most important question is about your own experience. Have you tried older wines? Do you like them? If you've never had a wine with more than a few years of bottle age on it, you might be disappointed to try the mellowed flavors of an older wine.

Wine Spectator gives you recommendations of when to drink wines we review, but always trust your own experience above all else. There is no formula that replaces your own taste.

—Dr. Vinny

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