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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I keep hearing people talking about the "jammy" taste of some of the high-alcohol wines such as Zinfandel. What are they talking about? Is jammy a good thing?

—Robert S., San Francisco

Dear Robert,

Jammy is a good thing if you like jam. When wines are made from extremely ripe grapes in a very concentrated style, the fruit flavors, rather than being described as fresh, are more like jam, a bit cooked and sweet. Zinfandel, which can get quite ripe (and the higher sugar levels end up resulting in higher alcohols, as you note), can definitely take on jammy nuances with ripe, full flavors. It may not be for everyone, but I like a bit of strawberry jam in my Zins.

—Dr. Vinny

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