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,
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 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.