Check out the new, mobile-friendly!

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,

We often hear that red Châteauneuf-du-Pape may contain any of 13 allowable varietals. Are there more specific regulations regarding varietal percentage--i.e., is there a minimum percentage of Grenache or Syrah required? Could a red CdP be 100 percent Grenache or 100 percent Syrah?

—Virginia Cole, Cambria, Calif.

Dear Virginia,

According to France's appellation laws for Châteauneuf-du-Pape, there are no minimum or maximum percentages for the varietals in the blend. Typically, Grenache is the lead variety for reds (followed by Syrah and Mourvèdre), and it's not unusual to find some 100 percent Grenache CdP bottlings out there. I haven't heard of any 100 percent Syrah bottlings, but there could indeed be such a thing.

—Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for Members

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.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories