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Dear Dr. Vinny,

What does “sleeper of the vintage” mean?

—Nick, San Diego

Dear Nick,

A “sleeper” is an unexpected success. You may have heard of films, songs or even books referred to as “sleeper hits.” When it comes to wine, I’ve heard the term “sleeper” used to refer to either single wines or entire vintages. When it’s a single wine, it means the wine did surprisingly better than its peers. If it’s a “sleeper vintage,” it suggests that the vintage was considered unimpressive at first but has since been recognized as better than expected.

—Dr. Vinny

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