Elucidating vineyard site contributions to key sensory molecules: Identification of correlations between elemental composition and volatile aroma profile of site-specific Pinot noir wines

The reproducibility of elemental profile in wines produced across multiple vintages has been previously reported using grapes from a single scion clone of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Pinot noir.  The grapevines were grown on fourteen different vineyard sites, from Oregon to southern California in the U.S.A., which span distances from approximately hundreds of meters to 1450 km, while elevations range from near sea level to nearly 500 m. In addition, sensorial (i.e. aroma, taste, and mouthfeel) and chemical (i.e. polyphenolic and volatile) differences across the different vineyard sites have also been observed among these wines at two aging time points. While strong evidence exists to support that grapes grown in different regions can produce wines with unique chemical and sensorial profiles, even when a single clone is used, the understanding of growing site characteristics that result in this reproducible differentiation continues to emerge. One hypothesis is that the elemental profile that a vineyard site imparts to the grape berries and the resulting wine is an important contributor to this differentiation in chemistry and sensory of wines. For example, various classes of enzymes that catalyze the formation of key aroma compounds or their precursors require specific metals. In this work, we begin to report correlations between elemental and volatile aroma profiles of site-specific Pinot noir wines, made under standardized winemaking conditions, that have been previously shown to be distinguished separately by these chemical analyses.

Authors: Maisa M.M. Lima1 and Ron C. Runnebaum1,2

1Department of Viticulture & Enology, University of California, Davis, USA 
2Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Davis, USA

Email: rcrunnebaum@ucdavis.edu

Keywords: GC-MS, ICP-MS, terroir

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