Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Green Green Grass of Wine


Memo
 Share

Recommended Posts

While I enjoy - and regular drink - many BC white wines, I've got to say - despite their high retail cost - most BC reds leave a grassy-green taste in my mouth. I've never heard anyone use this characteristic in describing BC reds, but - almost unanimously - that's in there with the fruit and the asphalt.

I've come to the conclusion that green-grass is part of the BC (red) terroir.

Memo - it's good to touch the green green glass of home

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I enjoy - and regular drink - many BC white wines, I've got to say - despite their high retail cost - most BC reds leave a grassy-green taste in my mouth. I've never heard anyone use this characteristic in describing BC reds, but - almost unanimously - that's in there with the fruit and the asphalt.

I've come to the conclusion that green-grass is part of the BC (red) terroir.

Memo - it's good to touch the green green glass of home

I suspect that "green grassy" thing in red wine is a result of less than optimally ripe fruit.

Not suprising given the cool climate.

By the way, you are correct to attribute these flavors to "terroir."

Terroir is more and more understood to be more about climate and how grapes ripen and drainage properties of the soil rather than some "mystical" transference of flavor from dirt and grass and rocks.

Sadly, under ripeness has long been sold as terroir as an excuse rather than recognized as a flaw. If one likes green red wines that is fine. Actually, flaws in wine IMOP can often add to a wine's interest and complexity. Let's just be honest about what we are tasting.

Edited by JohnL (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To add to John's comments I would also say many of our blends have a good dose of Cabernet Franc in them which is inherently green tasting (olive, capiscium, leafy).

Cheers,

Stephen Bonner

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect that "green grassy" thing in red wine is a result of less than optimally ripe fruit.

Not suprising given the cool climate.

By the way, you are correct to attribute these flavors to "terroir."

Terroir is more and more understood to be more about climate and how grapes ripen and drainage properties of the soil rather than some "mystical" transference of flavor from dirt and grass and rocks.

Sadly, under ripeness has long been sold as terroir as an excuse rather than recognized as a flaw. If one likes green red wines that is fine. Actually, flaws in wine IMOP can often add to a wine's interest and complexity. Let's just be honest about what we are tasting.

Yikes......especially at the prices one is being charged for some BC reds (I saw a bottle of Mission Hill Oculus at the LCBO for $57 bucks...PASS). Not the flavour profile I am keen on in the least in my reds. Not sure if you have to walk by the Aussi section before you get to the BC reds but even some of the el cheepos from there have ripper fruit. I guess I must just be a fruit bomb kinda person.

officially left egullet....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect that "green grassy" thing in red wine is a result of less than optimally ripe fruit.

Not suprising given the cool climate.

By the way, you are correct to attribute these flavors to "terroir."

Terroir is more and more understood to be more about climate and how grapes ripen and drainage properties of the soil rather than some "mystical" transference of flavor from dirt and grass and rocks.

Sadly, under ripeness has long been sold as terroir as an excuse rather than recognized as a flaw. If one likes green red wines that is fine. Actually, flaws in wine IMOP can often add to a wine's interest and complexity. Let's just be honest about what we are tasting.

Yikes......especially at the prices one is being charged for some BC reds (I saw a bottle of Mission Hill Oculus at the LCBO for $57 bucks...PASS). Not the flavour profile I am keen on in the least in my reds. Not sure if you have to walk by the Aussi section before you get to the BC reds but even some of the el cheepos from there have ripper fruit. I guess I must just be a fruit bomb kinda person.

Ripeness is a huge factor in a wine's profile.

The cooler the climate the more difficult it is to achieve adequate ripeness, especially for red grapes. In the northern climes red wines often do not ripen enough to achieve optimum alcohol levels and thus chaptalization is often utilized.

This problem is present for wines from the Loire, Germany, Northern Italy etc in Europe.

Conversely, grapes grown in hot climates may ripen too quickly resulting in wines that taste cooked or stewed. Also high alcohol becomes a problem. .

White grapes do much better. Canada while probably not possessing much potential to be known for Red wines is gaining a pretty good reputation for fine whites--especially sweet wines.

Also many people enjoy reds from more northern climes, preferring the higher acidity and lighter flavors and body inherent in these wines. There is almost a cult of folks that love German pinot noirs for example.

SBonner makes a good point. Tasting a cabernet franc made in Canada (or say Long Island) vs one from California would, in most cases, reveal the differences climate can have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done a lot of tasting of BC reds recently, and I agree that there can be "green/grassy" flavors (and "stemmy", too) in many BC reds. I have particularly noticed this in some of the more mass produced wines and some lesser-produced single varietals, like Merlot, Petit verdot, Cabernet franc, and certainly in a LOT of the hybrid grapes.

That being said, I believe I am seeing less of this in the premium-level wines over the last few years, especially as viticultural practices advance (resulting in improved fruit quality) and enological practices improve (resulting in better wine quality). In my experience certain producers seem to be doing a more consistent overall job of producing balanced, fully ripe, and character-driven reds with no real greenness to them. A few that quickly come to mind (and there are definitely others, I'm not trying to be comprehensive here) are Howard Soon with his Sandhill Small Lots program, Tom Di Bello's Platinum Reserve series at CedarCreek, some of the Family Reserve Quail's Gate wines, just to name three. Yes, I know these are the top-end and expensive reds, but guess what . . . there's a reason for that!

I fully agree with JohnL's reasonings here, but I would add a few other considerations. The BC wine industry is still quite young, with vinifera experience still being small on a continent-wide scale. California Cabernet used to have lots of green flavors as well (especially the Monterey region) when that region was younger and before people learned how to weed it out (so to speak). I believe that in coming years more advanced vine age and overall viticultural experience will help BC lessen the presence of "greeness" that can come from less-experienced winegrowing/making. Or at least I hope so.

Certainly much of the greeness may be due to underipe fruit. The Okanagan Valley is definitely a cooler growing climate than, say, Washington's Red Mountain, but let's not forget that it IS a desert. There is plenty of heat accumulation for fruit ripening to be had, especially in the southern reaches of the Valley. I'm not yet convinced that underipe fruit is all the fault of the growing climate . . . I still think much of it has to do with less-than-ideal viticultural practices: everyone is still learning how to deal with their terroir!

As an interesting side note to throw in, Dr. Greg Jones (of Southern Oregon University) has done some of the most advanced climatalogical analysis of wine regions around the globe, and some of his work projects (based on historical temperature data plugged into conservative climatalogical prediction models) that if current temperature trends continue, the Okanagan Valley might be one of the most optimum growing regions on the continent in 50 years!

My overall point of all this writing is that I'm thinking the presence of "green/grassy" flavors in BC reds may have as much to do with winegrowing/making as it does a supposedly BC-specific terroir. I personally think it is too early in the region's history to know for sure. But I do know for sure that I look forward to testing out my hypothesis in the coming years!

-Cole

Link to comment
Share on other sites

White grapes do much better. Canada while probably not possessing much potential to be known for Red wines is gaining a pretty good reputation for fine whites--especially sweet wines.

Didn't the Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietors' Grand Reserve Shiraz recently win at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London? Is that a total anomaly in terms of world-wide recognition for BC reds, or a sign of things to come as our wine industry matures and evolves?

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Didn't the Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietors' Grand Reserve Shiraz recently win at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London?  Is that a total anomaly in terms of world-wide recognition for BC reds, or a sign of things to come as our wine industry matures and evolves?

Complete and total random occurance on par with a roomful of monkeys and IBooks producing Hamlet. And todays koan is "if a wine is not commercially available, does it really exist?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Didn't the Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Proprietors' Grand Reserve Shiraz recently win at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in London?  Is that a total anomaly in terms of world-wide recognition for BC reds, or a sign of things to come as our wine industry matures and evolves?

Complete and total random occurance on par with a roomful of monkeys and IBooks producing Hamlet. And todays koan is "if a wine is not commercially available, does it really exist?"

The London Wine shows like their Australian counterparts can be misleading. There are upteen catagories of wine and internal competitions so I do not place alot of faith on wine show results.

Stephen

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[

The London Wine shows like their Australian counterparts can be misleading. There are upteen catagories of wine and internal competitions so I do not place alot of faith on wine show results.

Stephen

Thanks, you just answered the question I was going to ask. In Australia it seems that anyone can win a medal since there's often only a few entrants in any particular category. It is a good way to sell wine though.

Cheers,

Anne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

pinot noir  Sensitive to climate and soil, it thrives on warmth, but not intense heat. An exemplary Pinot Noir, elegant and velvety with a distinctive bouquet reminiscent of black cherry and spice. Medium in colour and body, and soft tannins.
How can one put all of BC’s wine in the same terroir? You would never say that all French wines taste the same or Italian; there is hundreds of BC wines that you or I have never tasted and will not get the chance unless you have very good buying practices. The best wines that BC produces are produced in small quantities and go very fast. Common practice is to buy the wine the year before.

You have very different climatic zones with very different politics surrounding the wines. Vancouver Island and the Okanogan have very different soils and climate. New areas such as Fruitvale (by Trail) in the southern Kooteneys has very similar soil and climatic zones as lets say Northern Washington state just south of Trail where there are many very good small wineries doing some amazing things. I would say that trails Terroir is more comparable to Washington State then lets say the Okanagon. The two places are in different countries but the land is similar; at one time they were part of the same teritory. The 49th parallel is relatively new compared to the age of the surrounding lands in both countries. It is so easy to get to Spokane and the area surrounding it- history speaks for itself.

The Okanogan property value and tax will keep the regions wine prices high; you have low volume so the price point can not even be close to high output wines from Aussie land and California.

The almighty Shiraz; the Blends, Cav Sav, Merlot seem to be huge selling price point wines here in BC and Australia and New Zealand seem to be tops in that game. Many restaurants have these wines as their house wines. (Not high end places). I would not drink these kinds of wines from the BC perspective and think that there are better grapes suited for our growing climate. Pinot Noirs are a better choice if you do not want that green taste. Northern Washington state and California and Vancouver Island all have many Wineries doing just that and that funny movie called sideways made Pinot a household name in some circles. I mean has not everyone tired of Cav Sav and blends.

A Pinot Noir that I must say is one of the best wines I have had recently was incredible smooth with hints of cherry with a aroma that was of blossoms in spring with hints of oak.

It was from Alderlea Vinyards and was a 2003 vintage and is located in Duncan. Another good Pinot is from Saturna Island, it too had a great aftertaste and finish no green there.

http://www.cowichan.bc.ca/visit/activities/vineyards.htm

http://www.cgwinery.com/index.htm

http://www.winesnw.com/spokane_area_map.html

steve

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Pinot Noir that I must say is one of the best wines I have had recently was incredible smooth with hints of cherry with a aroma that was of blossoms in spring with hints of oak.

It was from Alderlea Vinyards and was a 2003 vintage and is located in Duncan.

Alderlea make some fine wines. I agree with your description of their Pinot Noir.

However, at close to $40 a bottle - double it if you're in a restaurant - I won't be buying their product with any frequency (when I can choose from a world of great wines for half the price).

Memo - dreaming of the day the BCL will bring in a $12.00 Bierzo

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Memo

It is sad that good Canadian wines are pricing themselves out and we are faced with drinking Canadian crap. For me when faced with this dilemma I go with French or Italian and stay away from Aussie.

Although it is cheaper to buy from the winery and Duncan is where I am living now. This fall I got some good deals by buying direct. Some great wines were tasted. -- Our pub (project currently involved with) --liquor store should be open very soon and maybe you can get some good priced local wines right here in Duncan. Local is what we are all about.

steve

:blink:

except for Lucky beer--- biggest seller and it is not even made in BC anymore :blink:

Edited by stovetop (log)
Cook To Live; Live To Cook
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I enjoy - and regular drink - many BC white wines, I've got to say - despite their high retail cost - most BC reds leave a grassy-green taste in my mouth. I've never heard anyone use this characteristic in describing BC reds, but - almost unanimously - that's in there with the fruit and the asphalt.

I've come to the conclusion that green-grass is part of the BC (red) terroir.

Memo - it's good to touch the green green glass of home

I suspect that "green grassy" thing in red wine is a result of less than optimally ripe fruit.

Not suprising given the cool climate.

This is one of the most common misconceptions about BC wines, given that the bulk of VQA red wine grapes are grown on the semi-arid Oliver and Osoyoos benches. Temperatures there can average many consecutive weeks of plus 30 degree C weather (spiking to 40+); because of their northern latitude, those benches average about an hour more of summer sunshine per day than the Napa Valley.

Agriculture Canada's studies (geology; effects of climactic change on crop water; irrigation practices et al) of the extraordinarily diverse micro-climates of the Okanagan Valley are pervasive and richly detailed - it may be one of the most fastidiously analyzed wine regions in the world.

As for the IWSC Gold Award for shiraz being awarded to Jackson Triggs: Well done. They beat the Aussies at their own game - and as even they had to admit in London - fair dinkum.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can one put all of BC’s wine in the same terroir?  You would never say that all French wines taste the same or Italian; there is hundreds of BC wines that you or I have never tasted and will not get the chance unless you have very good buying practices.

.....

A Pinot Noir that I must say is one of the best wines I have had recently was incredible smooth with hints of cherry with a aroma that was of blossoms in spring with hints of oak.

It was from Alderlea Vinyards and was a 2003 vintage and is located in Duncan. Another good Pinot is from Saturna Island, it too had a great aftertaste and finish no green there. 

steve

I agree that there is not one terroir for BC.

Would you say there are BC wines that are reflecting their terroir in a consistently recognizable manner? Are the Pinots you enjoy reflecting terroir or viniculture and viticulture, or both?

Cheers,

Anne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting thread so far.

If one is looking for inexpensive wines to drink daily (let's say under $17) then it is probably best to look at imports from Spain, Argentina, Chile etc.

They way I look at B.C. wines is for quality at or around the $20 price point and up and I assess the wines relative to price and typicality of the varietal. I then consider the style of the wine maker. Cedar Creek, for example, makes extracted wines, lots of wood and lots of stuffing, but the prices are somewhat of a premium $30-40, but they are worth it. What can you get from California for under $40 that has any kind of pedigree.

Lately, Golden Mile (Merlot, Pinot), Herder (Twin Bench Chard, Pinot Gris), Laughing Stock (meritage), Inniskillin (discovery series), Black Hills, Burrowing Owl (Cab Sauv), Blue Mountain Stripe wines and bubbles are all exceptional wines, well made and well justified in price.

I will admit that the greenness can be found in immature vines, poor vineyard management decisions, and or, overall lack of ripe fruit but usually we get the opportunity to taste these wines before we buy them (i.e. trade tastings etc). I also feel that some of our B.C. wineries should focus more on a handful of wines and stop trying to make so many different selections. Determine what works best in the vineyard and focus on that varietal.

As for pricing... well I guess it comes down to supply and demand although a more liberal liquor board could probably help bring down the prices but with the BCLDB current expansion of VQA selections and their willingness to now cover the cost of shipping of B.C. wines, will not happen any time soon.

One last point, I have a lot of respect for Blue Mountain and Black Hills for maintaining their pricing after many years on the market. Don't tell them that though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...