The mystery of the medicine man's pouch. The secret to grandmother's stew. The smell of the apothecary. Sundried leaves, perfectly cured, have long been treasures to be carefully guarded. Dried herbs heal, soothe, salve, and protect. They preserve, prevent, perfume, and flavor. They stimulate, and they even kill. In varieties to many to number, they have found their way into almost every facet of our lives, and we are much the better for it. Sage, marjoram, assam, rosemary, lavender, thyme. Anise, chamomile, oregano, cannabis, parsley, hyssop. Sometimes singular, sometimes swirled into a bouquet of uncertain origin. Finding dried herbs in wine can be like stumbling over a set of your childhood journals, so evocative these flavors and aromas are of time gone by. No surprise then, that the savory notes of delicate, crackling leaves and flowers often emerge from wines that have gathered dust for some time on the shelf. Five, ten, or twenty years can produce a cornucopia of changes in a wine's flavors. But these delightful aromas are not limited to aging bottles. They can emerge from the freshest of vintages and a wide range of varieties, depending on everything from where and when the grapes were picked, to how they were aged. Often the perfect counterpoint to fruit, a hint of dried herbs in a wine, much like in any fine recipe, can make the difference between the ordinary and the delightful.
Cadaretta Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
Torres "Salmos" Red Blend Priorat, Spain
Renaissance "Claret Prestige" Proprietary Red Wine, North Yuba, Sierra Foothills, California, USA
Bollinger Brut La Grand Année Rosé, Champagne, France
Kapcsándy Family Vineyards "Grand Vin" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, California, USA
Rivers-Marie "Summa Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California, USA
Errázuriz "La Cumbre" Shiraz, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
Domaine Marcel Deiss "Mambourg" Grand Gru White Blend, Sigolsheim, Alsace, France
R. López de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia, Rioja, Spain
Jean Mâcle Vin Jaune, Château-Chalon, Jura, France
Ridge "Geyserville" Zinfandel Blend, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California, USA
Fiorano (Boncompagni Ludovisi) Botte 48 Semillion, Roma, Italy
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
The Superb Grace of Old Vines: Drinking Janasse The Zinfandel Experience: January 31, San Francisco Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 4, 2015 Vinography Images: The Colors of a New Season Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 27th, 2014 Vinography Images: Rich Skies Losing a Legend in Serge Hochar Flirting with the Ecstatic: The Wines of Nikolaihof, Austria Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 20, 2014 A Grape By Any Other Name
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