Christopher Columbus was an unwitting pawn, the tool of a plant with grand designs. The seeds of nightshade he carried back to Spain would quickly go on to conquer the world, enslaving cultures for the remainder of history in their culinary devotion to what the ancient Meso-Americans called xilli. As spice, as medicine, as food, there is but a single constant: flavor. But too much of any one flavor in a wine can mean clunkiness instead of complexity. Many of wine's essences are best as grace notes instead of dominant melodies. Such is the case with capsicum. Its key flavors reside in molecules called pyrazines, to which we are so sensitive, that just a few molecules are enough to make anything taste or smell exactly like a freshly cut green bell pepper. These vegetal flavors (never mind that capsicum is a fruit) persist in most unripe grapes, but linger especially long in the Cabernet family, to which they add delicacy or distaste, depending on your point of view. Whether for you an imperfection or a mark of honesty, the flavor is unmistakable.
Vérité "Le Désir" Bordeaux Blend, Sonoma County, California, USA
Yering Station Cabernet Sauvignon, Yarra Valley, Australia
Lang & Reed Wine Company "Two Fourteen" Cabernet Franc, Napa, California, USA
Chateau Lynch-Bages Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
Weingut Christ "Mephisto" Red Blend, Vienna, Austria
Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon, Loire Valley, France
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Images: Above the Coast 2015 Seven Percent Solution Tasting: May 6, San Francisco Imagining a Better Future for the Soils of Champagne A Brief Video Lesson in Champagne Disgorgement Vinography Images: The World of the Leaf Book Signing on May 9th, at Raymond Vineyards in Napa Doorman: Changing My Wine Delivery Life A Singular Expression: The Champagnes of Cédric Bouchard Acid Freaks Unite: Highlights From the 2015 IPOB Tasting Vinography Images: A Brief Oasis
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune