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 What are these green notes you can sometimes perceive in a wine?

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This part of the wine aroma dictionary lets you discover green notes classified as herbaceous / vegetative aromas. This is still a work in progress and we will regularly add new descriptors extracted from the wine flavor wheel .

Feel free to leave a comment or question at the bottom of the page.

  • Aroma : Asparagus
  • Category : Vegetative
  • Type : Canned / cooked
  • Aroma definition : Aroma evoking the cooked asparagus.
  • Wine style : This is a green note typical of Sauvignon blanc wines. At high concentrations, I would consider it an off-flavor.
  • Origin: 1,2-dithiocyclopentene is the compound identified to be responsible of the aroma of a cooked asparagus. However, in wine, this cooked asparagus aroma is attributed to thiol compounds, part of the sulfur family.
    The expression of the asparagus aroma seems dependent of the winemaking technique and the practices in the vineyards. Some have argued that methoxy-pyrazines imparted this asparagus aroma, however they seems more related to bell pepper like of aromas.
  • Aroma Standard: Pour 2-3 mL brine from canned asparagus in a white or red wine base.

Image credit: 123RF Photo

  • Aroma: Cut green grass
  • Category: Herbaceous
  • Type: Fresh 
  • Aroma definition: Aroma evoking the smell of the fresh cut grass after someone has just mowed the lawn. In low intensity, this aroma can be pleasant but can become an off-note if perceived too strongly. Aroma compounds  imparting such aroma are usually aldehydes such as 3-cis hexanal. 
  • Origin: Grape berries, usually not fully ripes at time of harvest and process.
  • Wine style: In my experience, mainly in Sauvignon blanc, sometimes Cabernets 
  • Aroma standard: Place about 5g of fresh cut grass in a white wine base for at least two hours. Filter and use immediately as an aroma reference. Don't delay to place the grass in wine, otherwise the grass will start to dry and impart dried grass/hay type of aroma instead. Just smell, no sip!

Image credit: 123RF Photo

  • Aroma : Green olive
  • Category : Vegetative
  • Type : Canned / cooked
  • Aroma definition : Aroma evoking the green olive in brine
  • Wine style : I often perceive green olive in aged Chardonnay wines.

  • Origin : I am unsure of the volatile compounds responsible for green olive aromas. Aldehydes and thiols have been cited in several publications, however, there is not one compound specifically typical of green olive.
  • Aroma Standard : Pour 4-6 mL of brine from canned green olives into a white or red wine base.

Learn more about how to make your own wine aroma kit.

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