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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have read about certain white wines smelling like gooseberry. What does gooseberry smell and taste like?

—Michael, Irvine, Calif.

Dear Michael,

I know gooseberries are rather uncommon in North America, but I can understand why anyone who has tasted gooseberry finds it a useful wine descriptor, especially for Sauvignon Blanc; the tart and tangy berries can be a dead ringer for Sauvignon Blanc's distinctive personality. There are a few different types of gooseberries, but they all grow on bushes, and the berries are about the size of large currants or blueberries. Some are bright yellow-green, others are more grey, red, or purple in color. They are fragrant—floral and sometimes pungently grassy or herbal, even spicy or peppery smelling. They can be tart and juicy, ranging from grapefruit or green apple flavors to more ripe, tropical notes. Sounds an awful lot like many Sauvignon Blancs, eh?

—Dr. Vinny

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