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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is meant by “hedonistic” when used to describe a wine?

—Manus D., Portland, Ore.

Dear Manus,

“Hedonistic” in general refers to something that is devoted to the pleasure of the senses. I know it must seem strange to refer to a wine that way, because wine is supposed to be pleasurable, right? But “hedonistic” is usually saved for those really amazing wines—ones that are joyful, pleasurable and gratifying on several levels. Since the word refers to all of the senses, I’d expect a hedonistic wine to be aromatic, lush in texture, visually appealing, and of course to taste good, with a long, lingering finish. It’s not a term typically applied to snappy, juicy wines, or rustic, tannic ones either.

—Dr. Vinny

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