When I taste a dry, non-sparkling white wine, I sometimes get a fizzy sensation. What is that?

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,

When I taste a dry, non-sparkling white wine, I sometimes get a fizzy sensation. What is that?

—John, Milford, Mich.

Dear John,

You might be describing acidity, which is something you feel rather than taste. Acidity can feel mouthwatering, puckering or biting, and I have heard it described as feeling like Pop Rocks on your tongue. Think of a squirt of lemon, or the sensation of biting into a green apple—those have a lot of acidity. You’ll notice acidity more in white wines than in reds (where you will notice tannins more prominently).

It's also possible that you're experiencing some light effervescence, or spritz—a little bit of carbonation that can result intentionally or by accident when a wine hasn't fully completed fermenting before it's bottled. Effervescence is a popular characteristic of Portugal's Vinho Verde dry whites, and winemakers will sometimes even introduce a bit of CO2 to achieve that effect. But spritz can also be a flaw, if it's the result of an accidental secondary fermentation that occurred in the bottle.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny White Wines Wine Flaws Winemaking Techniques Explained

More In Dr. Vinny

Should the capsule on top of a wine bottle spin or not?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the folklore about foil capsules, or sleeves, on …

Aug 7, 2020

I tried to clean a red wine stain and it turned blue. Why?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why wine stains can turn blue, and how best to …

Aug 5, 2020

How does Wine Spectator review canned wines in blind tastings?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the procedure for blind-tasting wines from …

Aug 3, 2020

When will wine from Virginia get the recognition it deserves?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why Virginia's wines aren't more well-known on …

Jul 31, 2020

Why do Champagne bubbles come from the bottom of my glass?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains carbon dioxide "nucleation sites."

Jul 29, 2020

What's the best way to keep a bottle of wine chilled while traveling?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for keeping your wine cool once it's left the …

Jul 27, 2020