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Dear Dr. Vinny,

When a wine reviewer writes, "Best after 2009," does that mean "Best after turning 2009"? Or "Best after 2009 is over"?

—George G., Alexandria, Va.

Dear George,

Our reviewers would typically use this "best after" recommendation to suggest, in this case, that the wine might be drinking best starting around 2010. But these suggestions are based on their experience and personal preferences, and should be taken with a grain of "what do you like" salt. And I would like to gently suggest not looking at drink recommendations so precisely. It's not about Jan. 1 or Dec. 31, 2009. Wines aren't ticking time bombs, and there's more than a 20-minute peak drinking window to enjoy them—even though it might not feel like it sometimes.

—Dr. Vinny

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