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,
What does it mean to say a wine has a “linear profile”?
—Frank C., Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
“Linear” is used to describe wine in pretty much the same way it’s used to describe other things. A wine might not be literally “straight,” but it can be straightforward. The flavors might feel sequential, neither gaining nor losing momentum. A linear wine, like a linear painting, stays in the lines and doesn’t venture outside them.
Depending on the context, this can be either a positive or a negative trait. On the plus side, if the linear flavors are to your liking, precise, direct and intense, that might be a good thing. But that linear quality might limit your pleasure if you perceive the flavors as merely narrow or one-dimensional.