Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
I’ve seen various wines described as “snappy”—what does that mean?
—Irwin, Lutherville, Md.
Hopefully you can tell from the context in which "snappy" is used in all of those tasting notes, but I’ve seen “snappy” used as a modestly positive term. It’s either referencing a brisk, crisp acidity, or it could be a commentary on the fruit components of a wine. Apples and pears might be considered “snappy,” but a ripe banana or blueberry probably would not be described that way.
I checked with some of Wine Spectator's tasters, and they confirm that they tend to use “snappy” to mean “lively and crisp, with fresh, vibrant fruit.” But outside of wine, "snappy" can also refer to something concise and brief, and I’ve also seen that reflected in wine descriptions as well.