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.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I've recently purchased some Italian Valpolicella. After letting the wine sit in a carafe for a while, I detected a slight effervescence in the taste. I could not actually see any bubbles forming but I could feel it on my tongue. Is this normal or a sign of bad wine?

—Robert Guay, Montreal

Dear Robert,

In technical wine tasting terms, that effervescence is called "spritz." It's normal in some wines, usually light whites, but sometimes light reds such as Valpolicella. The winemaker has either left behind or added some CO2 just before bottling, in order to maintain liveliness and freshness. But sometimes it's a problem, caused by an unintentional secondary fermentation. How can you tell the difference? Well, did you like the sensation, and the taste?

—Dr. Vinny

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