Varietal volatile patterns of Italian white wines

Aroma diversity is one of the most important features in the expression of the varietal and geographic identity and sensory uniqueness of a wine. Italy has one of the largest ampelographic heritages of the world, with more than five hundred different varieties. Among them, many are used for the production of dry still white wines, many classified as Protected Designation of Origins and therefore produced in specific geographical areas with well-defined grape varieties. Chemical and sensory characteristics of the aroma of these wines have never been systematically studied, and the relative diversity has never been described and classified. During this study, which is part of the activities of the D-Wines research consortium, we considered 249 samples of different mono-varietal white wine types (Albana, Arneis, Cortese, Erbaluce, Garganega, Gewurztraminer, Greco di Tufo, Falanghina, Fiano, Lugana, Müller Thurgau, Nosiola, Pallagrello, Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla, Verdicchio, Vermentino, Vernaccia di S. Gimignano) corresponding to major Italian PDOs. Volatile compounds primarily associated with varietal and geographical origin, namely terpenes, norisoprenoids, sulphur compounds and methyl-salicylate, have been analysed by means of different SPME-GC-MS techniques. Multivariate analysis and Hierarchical Cluster Analysis of volatile compounds showed a complex segmentation in which each wine type showed patterns of chemical compounds with similarities within the group but which at the same time partly overlapped with the patterns of other wine types. Despite this, almost all compounds showed significant differences according to wine type. We found that Vermentino was characterized by high concentrations of terpenes and in particular of linalool, whereas for other wine types either sulfur compounds, such as DMS, or norisoprenoids, such as β-damascenone, were found to be significantly discriminant. Similarities between wines from the same grape variety but different geographical origin were also detected, as in the case of Verdicchio and Lugana, both characterized by a higher methyl salicylate content.

Authors: Ugliano Maurizio1, Luzzini Giovanni1, Slaghenaufi Davide1, Carlin Silvia2, Curioni Andrea3, Marangon Matteo3, Mattivi Fulvio4, Moio Luigi5, Parpinello Giuseppina6, Piombino Paola5, Rio Segade Susana7, Rolle Luca7 and Versari Andrea6

1Department of Biotechnology, University of Verona
2Metabolomics Unit, Research and Innovation Centre Fondazione Edmund Mach
3Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padova
4Centre Agriculture Food Environment (C3A), University of Trento, Italy
5Department of Agricultural Sciences, Division of Vine and Wine Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Avellino, Italy
6Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy
7Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy

*corresponding author: maurizio.ugliano@univr.it

Keywords: White wine, Protected Designation of Origin, Geographic identity, Varietal identity, Wine aging

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