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.
Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Dear Dr. Vinny,
When you describe the taste of a wine as "tar," what does it taste like?
—Charles, Burnaby, British Columbia
"Tar," "tarry," and "tarlike" all describe a component of wine that's reminiscent of … well, tar. It's not a negative descriptor—I like it when I notice a touch of tar in my Barolos or Rhône-style wines (and in my single-malt Scotches). What does tar taste like? If you've ever driven down a road that was being repaved, you may have experienced an overwhelming stench of tar, but thankfully it's much less pronounced in wine. Tar is a dark, pungent and resinous (usually stopping short of acrid) note. I also associate tar with spicy tobacco.
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.