Are wine tasting note descriptors listed in order of prominence, like ingredients on a food label?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Are tasting note descriptors listed in order of prominence, like ingredients on a food label?

—Ed, Colts Neck, N.J.

Dear Ed,

No, it’s not that simple. Reviews and reviewers vary in their approach. To be fair, so do wines. Some wines have a dominating feature with details that emerge on the finish. Others might build into a crescendo, while others are all about harmony (or a lack thereof).

How a reviewer approaches writing a tasting note is up to them, and it usually varies from wine to wine and from taster to taster. But if you see a list of grapes at the end of tasting note for a wine that is a blend, they are listed in descending order of percentage, as reported by the winery or importer.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny Tasting Descriptors

More In Dr. Vinny

How many gallons of wine are in a ton of grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how many barrels, gallons, cases and bottles of …

Apr 12, 2021

Does wine age the same under synthetic and natural corks?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the pros and cons of a variety of wine closures, …

Apr 5, 2021

Does Champagne age well?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what happens to sparkling wine as it ages.

Mar 29, 2021

Is there a word for sparkling wine that starts with the letter “P”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny's bubbly crossword puzzle suggestions include pétillant, …

Mar 22, 2021

Is there another name for “red Burgundy”?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the Pinot Noir grape's relationship with …

Mar 15, 2021

Should red wines be stored at a different temperature than white wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for how to take advantage of a dual-zone wine …

Mar 8, 2021