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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does garrigue mean?

—D. Murphy, Rochester, N.Y.

Dear D.,

Ah, yes, garrigue. Did you ever spend a spring in the south of France? Me neither. But if we did, we'd know that garrigue refers to the low-growing vegetation on the limestone hills of the Mediterranean coast. And after that mythical spring, some wines might remind us of the bushy, fragrant plants that grow wild there, such as juniper, thyme, rosemary and lavender. Think herbs d'Provence. And if that's still not ringing a bell, think of a minty-herbal note and a pungent, floral one.

As much as I might want to wrinkle my nose at some of the high-falutin' terms that wine reviewers use, I also secretly love them. Wine impassions people, inspires them, and yes—sometimes it triggers memories of what garrigue smells like.

—Dr. Vinny

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