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,
In one of your responses to a question, you suggested that a wine that didn't taste well might be "going through a 'dumb' phase." Can you explain what this means in more detail?
—Leo B., Belmont, Calif.
A wine going through a "dumb" phase is going through an awkward, transitional period as the wine evolves from youth to maturity. It mostly occurs in red wines. As a wine's fruit flavors start to decrease and the mature complexities of an older wine start to develop, the declining fruit and emerging complexity can cancel each other out. The wine will taste muted, you can barely make out the fruit flavors, and it just won't do much for you.
The cause is uncertain, and the time frame varies. If you have a case of something that you suspect is going through a dumb phase in your cellar, all you can do is sigh and wait another six months to a year before opening another bottle.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
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.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions