What does the word “unctuous” mean in a wine tasting note?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does the word “unctuous” mean in a wine tasting note?

—Peter, Dallas, Texas

Dear Peter,

Outside of wine, the word “unctuous” describes something oily or greasy in terms of texture. In wine, it’s mostly a positive term. It refers to a wine with a rich texture—something lush, with some viscosity. I most often see it describing dessert wines.

Of course, it depends on the context of how the word is used. An unctuous wine without any acidity to balance it out could seem heavy or cloying.

—Dr. Vinny

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