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,

What is a reviewer saying when he or she refers to a wine as "backward," assuming the term has a standard meaning when used in wine reviews?

—Finley E., Corpus Christi, Tex.

Dear Finley,

It can be a bit maddening, but there are few wine terms that have standard meanings. In general, a backward wine is one that is less developed and that retains youthful characteristics for its vintage and type. It also usually means that the wine will require more time to reach maturity. The opposite of a backward wine is a forward one, in which a wine is on its plateau of maturity and is ready to drink sooner than expected.

—Dr. Vinny

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