Herbaceous aromas in wine

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WIld fennel in Puglia, Italy.

 

The following is a list of some herbaceous aromas that can be found in wine.

ANISEED
This spicy-herbal aroma can be found in wines of almost any style.

BASIL
Often found in wines from Provence, Spain and Italy.

BLACK PEPPER
Classic Syrah. Probably a pyrazine character plumped-up by grape ripeness.

CAMPHOR
Prematurely aged reds.

CHIVE
A mercaptan fault.

CINNAMON
Cinnamon notes can be found in both red (particularly Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon) and white (Gewürztraminer, French Sauvignon Blanc) wines.

CLOVE
Often part of the spicy complexity imparted by toasted oak. Eugenol is found in cloves.

CURRANT LEAF
High-vigour and/or underripeness, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.

EUCALYPTUS
Supposedly found on Australian reds from grapes grown within the immediate vicinity of eucalyptus trees, but can be found on many New World reds, particularly California Cabernets.

FENNEL
Found in many reds and whites.

GINGERBREAD
Classic bottle-aged aroma of Gewürztraminer.

GRASSY
Combination of ripeness and a certain vigour in Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard etc.

HERBACEOUS
Overt herbaceousness is a sign of underripeness or an over-vigorous canopy, although an understated herbaceousness can add an attractive dimension to some wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Petit/Gros Manseng, Cabernet Sauvignon/Franc etc).

MINT
Many New World reds, particularly Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

PEPPERMINT
Stronger, hotter version of mint, peppermint is less common, but can be found in some Australian Shiraz.

PEPPERY HERBACEOUS
A less severe form of stalky, this characteristic can be found in some whole-bunch fermented reds such as Pinot Noir and even Champagne.

PINE
Pine resin added to Retsina.

SPEARMINT
New World reds.

SPICY
Although a generic term, spicy is a very specific wine characteristic that is intensified by bottle-age, while tannins from the skins give the spice its hot, tactile impression on the finish. Principally Gewürztraminer, but also Pinot Gris. Eugenol is found in bay leaves, cloves and allspice.

STALKY
A green, tannic-herbaceous dryness that can sometimes be mistaken for TCA.

TARRAGON
Certain Provence wines.

TOMATO LEAF
The distinctive aroma of deliberately oxidised Sauvignon Blanc juice prior to fermentation

WHITE PEPPER
The powdery-dry taste perception of white pepper is most famously found in top Grüner Veltliner from Austria’s Wachau.

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