Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

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Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

Postby Brian K Miller » Sat Nov 11, 2006 4:50 am

Another "odd flavor' question/comment.

I tried a cheap Cabernet Sauvignon tonight (Castle Rock, a Sonoma-based Negociant) (before going to dinner) at the local Nugget Market's Friday Night tasting. Bleh! Overwhelming Green Bell Pepper flavor. This was a 2003 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I've tasted a lot of cabs, and this is the first time I've run across this flavor profile!

I've tasted plenty of jammy fruit, black pepper, leather, tobascco, and savory herbs, but never so strongly green bell pepper. Am I just being sensitive, or is this a common fault in lower priced California Cabs?
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Re: Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

Postby Howie Hart » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:11 am

I can't comment on CA Cabs, but here in the Northeast, there are both Cabernaet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc planted with mixed success. The green bell pepper is an indication of under-ripe fruit. CF, which ripens earlier than CS is less prone here, but there is almost always at least hints of it here, unless it's an exceptionally sunny, dry year.
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Re: Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

Postby Thomas » Sat Nov 11, 2006 9:58 am

I think Howie is correct, but only partly. The chemical that causes the green bell pepper, I believe, is found in high proportions in the Cabernet and Sauvignon grape family, red and white. In under-ripe fruit it is more pronounced, but I detect green pepper even in many big, CS wines that certainly had been produced from ripe fruit--it's just not as pronounced, but under there, balanced in.

Incidentally, between this bb and another, this is the third thread in a few weeka on this subject. Must be something in the air--or in the vineyard...
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Re: Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Nov 11, 2006 10:44 am

Brian K Miller wrote:Am I just being sensitive, or is this a common fault in lower priced California Cabs?


Brian, there's some tendency for less fully ripe Cab fruit to show green bell pepper characteristics, and this used to be such a common fault in Monterey Cabs (and also Washington State reds, I believe) that some people thought of it as an element of terroir. :)

Here's a link to another recent thread on this topic that may be of interest.
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Re: Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

Postby Jenise » Sat Nov 11, 2006 12:42 pm

Am I just being sensitive, or is this a common fault in lower priced California Cabs?

Brian, you'll run into badly grown fruit at all price points. I once 'invested' in a pair of Plumpjack wines to find out what all the fuss was about, and both were so savagely green peppered (and I like green peppers) that we couldn't drink them. If I 'member right, the first was a cab and I thought surely the second bottle, a different varietal not prone to that, would be otherwise but it was equally so. The second bottle was probably syrah. Anyway, $60 down the drain, and of course I've never given that winery another chance.
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Re: Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

Postby Brian K Miller » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:01 pm

Jenise wrote:Am I just being sensitive, or is this a common fault in lower priced California Cabs?

Brian, you'll run into badly grown fruit at all price points. I once 'invested' in a pair of Plumpjack wines to find out what all the fuss was about, and both were so savagely green peppered (and I like green peppers) that we couldn't drink them. If I 'member right, the first was a cab and I thought surely the second bottle, a different varietal not prone to that, would be otherwise but it was equally so. The second bottle was probably syrah. Anyway, $60 down the drain, and of course I've never given that winery another chance.


Interesting, Jenise. I actually tried a Plumpjack Cab this summer (bicycling away!) and it, their "St Helena Cuvee" was definitely not as ripe as some but it did not have the overwhelming green-ness of the Castle Rock wine.

Trefethan, grown at the very southern end of the Cab belt, also has thinner, less opulent, (WS/WE panned) cabs as well. But still.....BLEHHHHHH! One wants to be polite, and the lady pouring was nice, so I hope it wasn't oo obvious.

Which brings up a related "rhetorical question." I can admit that there are styles of wine that are not to my taste, yet I can still "respect" them. (this winry's Pinot Noirs, for example) Still....if you are a winemaker or tasting person, how can one not recognize such a blatant, obvious FLAW. And, this degree of green pepper is a flaw.
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Re: Green Bell Pepper in Cabs??????

Postby Brian K Miller » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:06 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Here's a link to another recent thread on this topic that may be of interest.


Thanks, Robin. I forgot about that thread :oops:

It's interesting how much tastes vary. I'm curious to try the Loire reds to see how they come out compared with this Cab. I see above that some people like some green bell pepper. The problem with this wine is that was ALL you tasted-no other flavors at all. :?
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