Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What is a “foxy” wine?
—Rodrigo R., Algarrobo, Chile
The term “foxy” refers to a very distinctive note found in some wines, a sort of wild, musky, animal smell that reminds me of the odor of a fur coat. It’s often found in American grape varieties like Concord or Catawba, and it’s usually paired with a pure grapey note.
Because it’s associated with certain grapes and the wines made from them, it’s generally an accepted component ... to a point. Too strong a foxy note can make a wine seem out of balance or disjointed, or it can detract from the rest of the wine’s personality. Scientists have identified the “foxy gene,” which means you might see foxy-free Concord wine in the future.