Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What does “high-toned fruit” mean in a tasting note?
The term “high-toned” usually indicates a lively, bright, high-acidity note. I think the closest synonym in the wine world I’d compare it to is “nervy.” Fresh, vibrant raspberries or cranberries are more likely to be “high-toned” than fruit flavors that seem baked or wrapped in spices or earthy notes.
For some, “high-toned” is also used to indicate a faint but noticeable touch of volatile acidity (or VA) that the taster finds agreeable. Wine typically contains a small amount of acetic acid, which adds positive notes and can make fruit flavors seem fresh. At higher levels it shows its vinegary side, which reminds some people of varnish, Magic Marker or nail-polish remover. “High-toned” can be used when someone notices this element but doesn’t mind it. For example, sometimes I sense a touch of VA that reminds me of balsamic vinegar, and if it’s in balance with the other components of the wine, I can rather enjoy that note.
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.