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Dear Dr. Vinny,

When a taster describes a wine as "loamy," what does it taste like?

—Charles, Burnaby, British Columbia

Dear Charles,

Loam is a type of soil, and when the term "loamy" is used to describe a wine, it refers to a pleasant earthy note (which is not the same thing as saying a wine smells dirty). It might help to have a green thumb to really appreciate the earthy distinctions. In particular, loam is a sweet, dark earth odor, but less pungent than potting soil and not as aromatic as truffles.

—Dr. Vinny

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