Log In / Join Now

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.

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

Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am trying to pair a savory food item with some very unique Angelica Port. It comes from our 100-year-old Mission grapevines and is fortified with Mission grape brandy. It’s very high in alcohol, with notes of caramel, nuts and a touch of dried fruit. I would like to do a more unique pairing. I am open to a cheese pairing, but I want to kick it up a bit. So far feta has worked really well with it. I am thinking of adding a smoked meat. Thoughts?

—Jennifer H., Placerville, Calif.

Dear Jennifer,

That’s a tough one—the alcohol and sweetness in that wine would threaten to overwhelm most dishes, unless the dish has some sweetness itself to balance things out. I think you could take the idea of a cheese plate and turn it into a pasta dish. Port and blue-veined cheeses tend to go very well together—how about a blue cheese stuffed in tortellini, served with a sweet sauce of some kind, perhaps one made with a reduction of the Angelica Port? I would also experiment with a stuffed pork loin with a dried-fruit stuffing, and, again, a sauce on the sweet side.

I also ran your question by senior editor Harvey Steiman, who I always look to for food advice, and he said, “Another thought is the popular ‘miso-glazed black cod,’ which is a rich and sweet sauce on a rich fish (actually sablefish, not cod). Do a test run and make sure the sauce is sweet enough to balance the wine.”

—Dr. Vinny

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 WineSpectator.com 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

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 300,000+ ratings.