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,

Tasting reports suggest when wines are best to be consumed. Where do tasters base this? On the amount of tannins? Or from the overall quality of the wine?

—Robert R., Manila

Dear Robert,

A lot of things contribute to a decision about when a wine will be at its best: the variety, the vintage, the appellation, the style, the quality, the structure, the acid, the tannin, and the taster's experience with all these things.

In general, Wine Spectator editors select drink windows to emphasize the early phases of a wine's development. It's easier to wait on the rest of the case than to wish you had opened the wines earlier! But there's no single answer of when it's best to drink a wine. Everyone's preferences vary. Trust your own experience above anything else.

—Dr. Vinny

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