ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does the word "notes" refer to when describing a wine? Is it the smell or the taste?

—Oscar F., Diamond Bar, Calif.

Dear Oscar,

"Notes," as in "notes of green apple," can refer to either aromas or flavors or both. Keep in mind that the relationship between smell and taste is very strong—much of what we "taste" is actually what we smell. The word is simply a device for writers to convey what they're experiencing. Other fancy words wine writers use to indicate aromas and flavors include "hint," "tone," "undertone," and "whiff," among others.

—Dr. Vinny


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