A study identifies 17 key compounds in wine aromas

February 03, 2020

Maybe words such as ethyl butanoate and octalactone sound unfamiliar to most people who drink wine. However, these substances are some of the ones that give this popular drink its own scent. A recent piece of research published by the University of Cordoba and the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University in Romania identified a total of 17 key compounds in the aroma of red wine, made from a red grape variety harvested in the wine region in northeast Romania.

In the study, over 80 volatile compounds were analyzed. These compounds are chemical substances that greatly influence the sensory characteristics of wine and are also responsible for producing certain scents. According to the results, out of all the analyzed elements, 17 make up 95% of the total detected aroma, meaning they play a crucial role in wine fragrance.

As explained by one of the researchers in charge of the study at UCO, researcher Rafael Peinado, in order to arrive at this conclusion, gas mass chromatography techniques were applied. This method allows for separating and identifying volatile components present in complex mixtures.

These 17 key compounds are related to fruity, woody, toasted and citric aromas, among others. During the study, a kind of fingerprint was found of the different kinds of wine that were analyzed by means of grouping these volatiles in aroma families.

In search of alternative methods

Though most of the wine produced worldwide is aged in wood barrels, this aging process has some disadvantages compared to other alternative methods. Barrel aging means storing wine for long periods of time, anywhere from six months to several years. In addition, maintenance, handling the barrels and extracting wine are all labor intensive activities, which impact the final price of the wine.

In order to deal with this issue, some countries have been using alternative aging methods instead of barrels for some time now. One involves putting pieces of wood, usually oak, in a tank with wine. These pieces of wood vary in size: chips, cubes or staves, which are small boards of wood. This process aims to reduce the length of aging time and the amount of labor required in addition to providing traditional aging aromas, thus making it possible to put wine on the market in a shorter period of time.

In particular, the research, done in collaboration with the VITENOL group at the University of Cordoba, focuses on these kinds of wines. As pointed out by another head researcher on the study, Nieves López de Lerma, the project was able to establish a relation between this kind of wine's aroma and factors such as aging time, kinds of pieces and the degree to which the wood was toasted.

According to the study's conclusions, the wines that have the highest concentration of aromatic compounds were aged with oak staves, contributing to a higher concentration, a longer aging duration and higher degree of wood toasting.

Though it would be a mistake to extrapolate a priori all these conclusions for any kind of wine - as the study was performed using a specific grape variety and the wine was made with alternative methods other than the classic barrel ones- according to Peinado, the research could help guide a wine's organoleptic profile by making certain aroma combinations stronger. The results, therefore, could be used to obtain more affordable wines with a particular aromatic profile based on the tastes of those who drink them.
-end-


University of Córdoba

Related Wine Articles from Brightsurf:

Shining a light on the issue of wine fraud
University of Adelaide wine researchers are developing a fast and simple method of authenticating wine - a potential solution against the estimated billions of dollars' worth of wine fraud globally, but also offering a possible means of building regional branding.

APS tip sheet: Understanding the tears of wine
New research explores the fluid dynamics behind a phenomenon known as tears of wine

Wine glass size may influence how much you drink in restaurants
The size of glass used for serving wine can influence the amount of wine drunk, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge, funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

A study identifies 17 key compounds in wine aromas
The research focused on a kind of wine made with alternative aging methods other than the classic barrel method

Uncovering the pathway to wine's acidity
University of Adelaide wine researchers say their latest discovery may one day lead to winemakers being able to manipulate the acidity of wines without the costly addition of tartaric acid.

Searching for the characteristics of award-winning wine
New WSU research shows large wine challenges tend to favor wines with high ethanol and sugar levels.

Given more information about how wine is made, consumers less likely to pay for organic
Consumers are more willing to pay for wine that comes with an organic or organic grape label but providing information about certification standards and organic production practices reduces consumer willingness to pay for all wines.

Modern beer yeast emerged from mix of European grape wine, Asian rice wine yeast
For thousands of years brewers made beer using specialized strains of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Keeping heavy metals out of beer and wine
A frosty mug of beer or ruby-red glass of wine just wouldn't be the same if the liquid was murky or gritty.

What's behind smelly wine
Aging often improves the flavor of wine, but sometimes the beverage emerges from storage with an unpleasant smell.

Read More: Wine News and Wine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.