What does "sanguine" mean in a wine tasting note?

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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

Dear Paul,

Sanguine is a polite way of saying "bloody." It can refer to color, but it's often a flavor/aroma descriptor sometimes synonymous with iron notes. While some wines smell gamy, 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 or metallic note.

—Dr. Vinny

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