What does the wine term “sauvage” mean?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does the wine term “sauvage” mean?

—Colin K., Calgary, Canada

Dear Colin,

Sauvage is a French term meaning “wild” or “natural.” There are three things it might refer to. First, when appearing in a tasting note, it might mean gamy, earthy or forest floor flavors. Second, it might reference a wine that was fermented with wild or indigenous yeasts. Finally, I’ve also seen it refer to a sparkling wine, to indicate that no dosage (a sweet syrup added just before bottling) has been added, making it very dry, even drier than a brut sparkling wine.

—Dr. Vinny

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