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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,
Upon reading a description of Champagne in our local liquor store, the word "biscuity" was used to describe it. What does "biscuity" mean?
—Wanda L.F., New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
"Biscuity" is a positive descriptor for sparkling wines, referring to a specific yeasty note. I checked with Bruce Sanderson, our resident Champagne expert, to get his take. Bruce says, "The aging on the yeast develops a range of flavors in maturing or mature Champagne, from toast, to gingerbread, to biscuit. Chardonnay-based Champagnes tend more to toast, especially toasted brioche, while Pinot Noir tends more to biscuit, a flavor that suggests the whole-grain flavors you might find in whole-wheat toast or wheat biscuits."
So, what kind of biscuit are we talking about, exactly? The "biscuit" in "biscuity" often refers to digestive biscuits, the semi-sweet cookies that are often enjoyed with tea in the United Kingdom. If you're not familiar with them, they're kind of like graham crackers—another Champagne descriptor you might see.
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