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 does the word “unctuous” mean in a wine tasting note?
—Peter, Dallas, Texas
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.