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.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more
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.
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator magazine is looking for an enthusiastic copy editor in the New York office.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash