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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is a "fruit bomb" wine analogous with high alcohol content?

—Oscar, Diamond Bar, Calif.

Dear Oscar,

Not exactly. The term "fruit bomb" refers to a wine (usually red, usually New World) that emphasizes lush, ripe or jammy fruit flavors. "Fruit bomb" is also used as a slam for wines in this style that are unbalanced or overextracted, suggesting that these ripe fruit flavors come at the expense of structure and balance. It's true that to make a fruit bomb, grapes can be left on the vine longer to get riper flavors, and that this can result in softer acidity and higher alcohol. But not every high-alcohol wine is a fruit bomb, and not every fruit bomb has high alcohol, or sacrifices balance or structure for fruit flavors. Some wines (and some grapes) are just naturally "fruit-bombier" than others.

—Dr. Vinny

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