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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Upon reading a description of Champagne in our local liquor store, the word "biscuity" was used to describe it. What does "biscuity" mean?

—Wanda L.F., New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

Dear Wanda,

"Biscuity" is a positive descriptor for sparkling wines, referring to a specific yeasty note. I checked with Bruce Sanderson, our resident Champagne expert, to get his take. Bruce says, "The aging on the yeast develops a range of flavors in maturing or mature Champagne, from toast, to gingerbread, to biscuit. Chardonnay-based Champagnes tend more to toast, especially toasted brioche, while Pinot Noir tends more to biscuit, a flavor that suggests the whole-grain flavors you might find in whole-wheat toast or wheat biscuits."

So, what kind of biscuit are we talking about, exactly? The "biscuit" in "biscuity" often refers to digestive biscuits, the semi-sweet cookies that are often enjoyed with tea in the United Kingdom. If you're not familiar with them, they're kind of like graham crackers—another Champagne descriptor you might see.

—Dr. Vinny

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