wolfen18 wrote:Since I'm new at describing wine, I noticed the term "vegetal" by one of the reviewers. When I was smelling the wine, and tasting it...there was a taste I couldn't place as "fruit". Maybe this is the vegetal I hear people speak of?
Usually when I see that term I expect it to taste like...well...leaves or something.
Also, I really didn't get the big alcohol smell (not like that Dusted Valley Syrah I had the other night...that was an alcohol hurricane blast. I didn't really like that wine at all).
Anyways, I liked reading the other reviews of this wine because it helped me to maybe give words to things I noticed about the wine, but was unable to articulate. It also made me go...Hmmm I didn't get that impression at all.
Thanks to the other reviewers for their good descriptions. Also, to woot for letting a newbie labrat.
There are a couple of categories of things people call "vegetal" or "vegetative" - the most straightforward is the aromas of fresh vegetables, plants or trees (ranging from cut grass and bell pepper to eucalyptus and mint, or more like specific veggies such as asparagus, or olives (green or black), etc.) and the other, a bit less straightforward (also described as 'chemical' - i.e. on Ann Noble's wine aroma wheel) such as cabbage or wet wool/dog.
In very limited amounts, many consider hints of vegetative aromas and flavors like bell pepper or olives or even (the slightest hint of) mint to be acceptable, even desirable, in Cabernet, especially Cabernet picked under 23 Brix. If it becomes dominant, it is usually considered a flaw by most experienced palates. Actual pronounced vegetable smells like cut grass, asparagus, green beans or artichokes in Cab are definitely considered a flaw, and I would ding a wine pretty hard for any of them in a professional tasting. Once you get into more 'cooked' vegetable aromas and flavors, you're getting into the territory of wine so badly flawed as to rate as "unacceptable". You don't see much of it any more, but 30 years ago, if you had a lot of late rain and cruddy conditions, you could well end up with wines that absolutely reeked of wet wool/dog or stinky cabbage. The 1977 Napa Cabernets (with a few exceptions of those who harvested early, like Inglenook) were among the worst for this in my memory. I hope technique has advance to the point wines like that won't often reach the market today. (For a long time, I had a bunch of the '77s I picked up essentially for free that I used as examples of what to avoid like the plague, and to send back if you were served it in a restaurant.) The '72 and '74 Bordeaux were similar.
BTW, as you learn to describe the aromas and tastes of wine, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of Prof. Ann Noble's Wine Aroma Wheel. It's really very helpful in categorizing aromas and provides a common vocabulary. I don't use it exclusively, because I learned to taste long before she put this together, and I am used to using a lot of other descriptive words, but I do try to work with it, especially on woot.