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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Wine reviewers often state when a wine will be best for drinking. This appears to be standardized for the 750ml bottle. Is there a rule of thumb for the percentage decrease in years to ideal drinking time for 375ml bottles and for the percentage increase for magnums (and larger)?

—Jim, Toronto

Dear Jim,

You're right that the drink windows are for standard-size bottles. The conventional wisdom is that the additional liquid in a larger format means the wine will take longer to age, while wine in a smaller bottle ages more quickly.

There's no simple formula to follow, but you can still use the drink window as your guide. For example, if the drink recommendation is "Best from 2006 through 2012," use the earlier date as a guide for a 375ml bottle, and the later date for a magnum.

—Dr. Vinny

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