Savoring the Green
I had a very interesting wine this weekend that, happily, made me think.
It was a "Sonoma County Merlot. Vintage 2003. Price: $32.00. It was a wine that stood out for one main reason: It had noticeable "herbal" qualities in the nose that was followed up by the same slightly "green" character on the palate.
These days there seems to be very few rules in the winemaking business. But there is one steadfast rule: AVOID GREEN HINTS IN YOUR WINE LIKE YOU WOULD AVOID THE PLAGUE….and for the same reasons. It can kill you…or at least a brand.
I’m not exactly sure how this anti-green rule came to reign. Maybe it has something to do with all those VERY green and herbally cabernets that were once produced in the Monterey area some time ago and that led to great disappointment in the potential for that region (of course they overcame that disappointment and the herbal/tomatoey character of those earlier wines).
Maybe the anti-green rule is simple the result of powerful critics criticizing this character in a wine.
Maybe the anti-green rule is merely a reflection of the domination of the American sweet tooth.
I’m not sure why winemakers must expunge any hint of ‘green" or herbal character from their wine, but there is no question that this character is undesirable.
I happen to like it. Not as a primary characteristic, but as part of a mix of character in a wine. I recall when there was a "grassy" style of Sauvignon Blanc often coming out of the Dry Creek Valley region. It was thought by many at the time that this was a part of the Dry Creek Valley terroir expressing itself through the Sauvignon Blanc grape. You find this character in DCV SB far less often these days. SB is supposed to be tropical!
If I was in the mood for a Monday Morning Rant, I might be inclined to suggest that many of us who criticize over saturated and over extracted and over alcoholic wines these days are actually criticizing a lack of complexity in too many CA wines. But it’s Monday and I’m not sure a rant is in order.
Suffice to say, I got a kick out of sticking my nose into a glass of blueberry, sage and mocha Merlot. There was a lot more to think about, to appreciate, to savor.