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 occasionally see comments that a wine is "tight." What does that mean, and how can I loosen the wine up?
—Dick P., Mukilteo, Wash.
A wine that is "tightly knit," or "tight," is one that's inexpressive or closed. The term usually refers to a young wine, and it can be applied to a wine's aromas, flavors or structure. Being tight isn't always a bad thing. In fact, it's kind of a backhanded compliment. If you're saying that a wine just needs to open up and develop to be more enjoyable, you're saying you think it's capable of that.
How do you loosen up a wine? Pour it in a glass, for starters. If you give the wine some room to aerate or "breathe," you might find it more expressive. Likewise with decanting. But sometimes a wine needs more time to unwind, and don't we all? Months or years in a cellar's optimum conditions might help your uptight wine learn to relax.