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,

According to the scores given by Wine Spectator, how accurate is the potential for bottle aging in the wines rated? If a description of a score says that a wine is good from 2005 through 2007, does that mean that after that time the wine would begin to lower its quality?

—Rafael H., Yorba Linda, Calif.

Dear Rafael,

The drink windows are simply the estimate by a taster of when a wine will be drinking at its best. No one can predict exactly how a wine will develop, and there is no single absolute best time to open any bottle. If a wine's suggested drink window is 2005 through 2007, does it mean that on Jan. 1, 2008, the wine has gone south overnight? No, of course not.

Frankly, the recommended drinking windows are intended more for the novice than for the serious wine collector. If you've been collecting and drinking wine for years, you should rely on your own experience. Remember that most wines taste great when they're young, and not everyone likes old wine; it's a bit of an acquired taste. And as many amazing bottles of perfectly aged wine I've enjoyed, I've had nearly as many that were well past their prime.

—Dr. Vinny

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