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,
I come across the word "sanguine" quite a bit in your tasting notes (mostly for Syrah-based wines). Webster says it means, "blood-colored". Can you help me understand what this means relative to wine aroma and taste?
—Paul Gallagher, Berkeley Heights, NJ
Sanguine is a polite way of saying "bloody." It can refer to color, but it's often a flavor/aroma descriptor. While some wines smell gamey, others smell like meat that you unwrap from the butcher shop. If you're a carnivore or blood-thirsty vampire, this can be quite a satisfying thing. If you're not, think of a high-toned, piercing, minerally note.
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