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,
I’m searching for a wine made from grapes only. I’m so tired of berry and spice wines! I like grapes! Any suggestions?
—Steve, Erie, Pa.
I have a feeling that you’re actually drinking wines made from grapes, but the tasting notes on the back of the wine labels describe the wine as tasting like berries, spices, etc.
Wine is rarely described as tasting “grapey,” I suppose because it would seem a bit redundant. It’s more effective to tell the difference between the styles of wines by focusing on the more nuanced flavors. Remember that those flavors come from the grapes, and are modified and amplified during fermentation, which unlocks hundreds of chemical compounds that are found in other foods. Wine lovers also use a colorful vocabulary to describe all the different ways wines taste (coffee and beer lovers have the same affliction).
If you’re looking for a wine that’s made in a more “grapey” style, keep an eye out for Beaujolais Nouveau, which is released the third week of November. It’s made quickly and without any influence from oak barrels, so it tends to have a fresh, fruity profile that should remind you of table grapes or grape juice.