The spice category ties in the aromas of spices, herbal and vegetable aromas.
Spices mentioned here are those that are naturally occurring in the grapes themselves and not from oak treatment – like vanilla. These are split into sweet and bitter spices. Sweet spices are: Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, and Nutmeg. These are commonly found in: Gewurztraminer and Falanghina. Bitter spices include: White or Black Pepper, Liquorice, and Juniper Berries. Pepper flavours are found in grapes like Syrah, whereas Liquorice is found in many Italian red grapes and Merlot.
Herbal aromas cover both herb and herbaceous aromas. Herb aromas cover: Eucalyptus, Mint, Fennel, and Dill. Herbaceous aromas are classic leafy aromas like: Fresh Grass, Tomato Leaf, Green Capsicum, Blackcurrant Leaf, and Asparagus.
Wines that have a large amount of herbaceous flavours will be due to usage of under-ripe grapes in the making of the wine. Sometimes these under-ripe flavours are considered desirable such as the green capsicum and fresh grass aromas classically mentioned when describing Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – funny to think that these famous aromas are due to under-ripe grapes.
Vegetable aromas are classically found in red wines more than in whites. This sub-category also encompasses Earthy aromas. All of these aromas are generally found in mature wines rather than in younger versions, as they develop similar to the dried fruit flavours mentioned above. Classic aromas of this category are: Mushroom, Black/Green Olive, Tobacco, and Game.