A Guide to Wine Faults – Herbaceousness

Bell Peppers...they're angry.Herbaceousness

Green aromas (such as bell pepper, asparagus or generally vegetal aromas) in a wine can sometimes be mistaken for bad winemaking or harvesting the grapes too early. But most of the time it’s just a character in that particular grape i.e. Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Franc, and can’t really be considered a true wine fault.  In fact, “green” aromas have long been considered a staple of French wines (due to the colder climate and the grapes ripening less).

With that being said, some red wines can yield an excessive amount of herbaceousness, which can often-times detract from the fruit, and negatively impact the palate structure and texture. For this reason, the majority of winemakers shy away from any green notes, associating them with under-ripeness of their grapes.

How to tell if your wine is affected:
Wines will have a distinctive herbal and vegetal smell, with aromas of wet grass, asparagus and jalapeno.

Your course of action:

As previously stated, herbaceousness can’t really be considered a true fault (although I’m sure some people will argue against that fact). If you find yourself in the position of drinking a wine with some of the aforementioned aromas/tastes, give thought to the type of cuisine the wine would pair best with in order to compliment these flavors.

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