Grass, bell pepper or cabbage: be carefull how you pick your greens in wine

So, you are starting to drink wine with the experts… Nothing wrong with that, but the terms they often use to describe the wine can be a bit confusing… Linear, one dimensional, broody etc etc. One such a wine description could be the term “green”.

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The word “green” can be used to describe the smell of the wine as well to a certain extend the taste. Green aroma related terms such as grass, green pepper (bell pepper) and asparagus are often positive descriptions linked to Sauvignon blanc or Semillon wines. These aromas are caused by methoxypyrazines, nitrogen based compounds that originates from the grapes. Interesting enough one do not want too much green pepper in a Cabernet Sauvignon red wine, as this might indicate that the grapes were picked a bit prematurely, as methoxypyrazines tend to decrease during ripening of the grapes. However, other green related descriptions such as cabbage (reductive, sulphur compounds), green leaves (leave aldehydes) and green apple (aldehydes due to oxidation) might refer to certain faults in wine and might raise an eyebrow or two when used to describe a wine in the winemakers presence. (More on faults in wine at a later stage, I’m feeling positive today!). Green can also be used to describe the taste of certain tannins in wine, with it being  “green” if it is very rough and astringent.

However, keep in mind that wine tasting is very subjective, so no one can really disprove your opinion about wine, so feel free to speak your mind, just perhaps pick yours type of green according to the the company!

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