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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does it mean to say a wine’s palate or aromas are “healthy”?

—Sharon, Shenzhen, China

Dear Sharon,

Terms used in tasting notes are typically used very similarly to how they are used outside of describing wine. So, a healthy note in a wine is a positive, indicating the wine is robust, fit, lively or even vigorous. Depending on the context and exactly how it’s used, it might mean that a wine is surprisingly healthy considering its age—an older wine still showing some vibrancy, for example.

I’ve also used the slang “healthy dose” in tasting notes, as in “this wine has a healthy dose of oak.” That’s still a positive note, in this case meaning that there is a noticeable amount of oak, but that it doesn’t interfere with the wine’s other elements.

—Dr. Vinny

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