Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

tasting term for the leafy or grassy aroma of crushed green leaves or freshly cut grass. Herbaceousness is generally considered a defect only when present in excess (although American tasters are much less tolerant of it than, for example, the British). Wines made from the produce of sauvignon blanc, sémillon, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, or merlot vines which failed to ripen fully are often excessively herbaceous. In general, the younger the vines, the greater their vigour, and the earlier the grapes are picked, the more pronounced the herbaceousness. One cause of vegetative herbaceous aromas, particularly in wines of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, is the presence of methoxypyrazines originating from the grape; see also flavour compounds. Another source of herbaceousness is six-carbon atom leaf aldehydes.