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 at a very nice restaurant and see a Cabernet I love, but know it's much better after being decanted and allowed to breathe for an hour or so. Is it worth buying wine at a restaurant that really can't be enjoyed to its fullest because it won't have a chance to open up?
—Brandon, Naples, Fla.
I agree that many red wines show best once they’ve had some time to open up, but that doesn’t preclude me from ordering them in a restaurant. After all, most of my meals that include a bottle of wine will be at least an hour in length—plenty of time for it to become more expressive. If I order a bottle soon after arriving, I can watch it evolve over time during my meal.
You can always ask the sommelier to decant the wine. If not, ask for their largest wineglasses and have fun swirling. I always enjoy watching a wine change in my glass, but if you’re certain it needs some time to show better, while it’s breathing you can order a glass of something white, pink or bubbly while you wait.