Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny



Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

When will Wine Spectator announce the 2016 Napa Cabernet vintage rating? When and how are vintage ratings determined?

—Tim, Austin, Texas

Dear Tim,

It’s a little too soon for a 2016 vintage rating for Napa Cabernet. Those wines are just beginning to hit the market, and Wine Spectator's lead taster for California Cabernet, senior editor James Molesworth, has only reviewed a few dozen 2016s so far.

He says his vintage assessments include a comprehensive look at weather, harvest reports and barrel tastings, but that the final vintage rating isn't determined until after a representative selection of finished and bottled wines have been reviewed.

“There's no specific formula for the vintage rating,” says Molesworth. “It's part analytics, and part the judgment of the editor vis-à-vis other vintages. Keep in mind, vintage assessments are always a broad overview, and there are always exceptions.”

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers


WineRatings+ app: Download now for 365,000+ ratings.