Green Wines, Part II

This month, we focus on red wines with green flavors

Last month, I wrote about white wines that have “green” flavors, such as apple, herbs and baby greens. Red wines can possess these flavors, too; in small doses, they may lend  dimension to the wine’s fruit, adding to its complexity. Green flavors can be inherent in certain grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc might taste of green pepper, Sangiovese and Corvina from Italy often have a tobacco element and Grenache and Mourvedre can taste of herbes de Provence. They may also arise from grapes that are slightly underripe from a cooler-than-usual vintage or from an early harvest. What to serve with these herbaceous reds? Braised dishes, long-simmered stews and beans work wonderfully with the flavors.  

De-fin-i-tive Pinot Noir  
Russian River Valley, 2010, $20
A lovely balance between berry fruit and herbs, and the flavor of lavender really comes out in this finely textured Pinot. Try this with cheeses that show an impression of fruit—those from Blue Mont Dairy come to mind, or many Gruyeres.         

Speri “La Roberiono,” Valpolicello  
Italy, 2007, $15
Fragrant aromas of leaf tobacco and sour cherry; a tangy palate also reveals flavors of crushed berries, almond and green tea. Serve this with lasagna.   

Antica Cabernet Sauvignon   
Napa Valley, 2008, $50
Soft and luscious without being top-heavy. Volcanic soils give this trademark Napa a creamy-mint finish. Outstanding with rack of lamb. 

Available at Madison’s finer wine stores. If unavailable, most purveyors will special order from their wholesalers if requested. Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.

Read more Off the Vine columns here.

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