Formation And Evolution Of Minty Terpenoids During Model Ageing Of Cabernet Franc And Merlot Wines

Authors: Lisanti Maria Tiziana1, Nioi Claudia2, Moio Luigi1, De Revel Gilles2 and Marchand Stephanie2

1University of Naples Federico II, Department of Agricultural Sciences, Division of Vine and Wine Sciences
2University of Bordeaux, ISVV, EA 4577, INRA, USC 1366 OENOLOGIE

*corresponding author:


In recent years, a pool of terpenoids possibly implicated in minty odours and in the appreciable refreshing sensation, has been identified in long aged red Bordeaux wines (Lisanti et al., 2021, Picard et al., 2016; Picard et al., 2017). These compounds were found to play a key role in the so-called “ageing bouquet”, that can be defined as  “the homogeneous, harmonious flavour resulting from the complex transformation process in wine during bottle storage” (Picard et al., 2015). Moreover the minty-fresh sensory dimension in fine aged red wines plays an important role in typicity judgement by wine professionals (Picard et al., 2015). Recent results on Corvina and Corvinone wines, revealed that
these compounds already exist in young wines, but at lower concentrations than in aged ones (Lisanti et al., 2019), thus suggesting their increase during ageing. However, little is still known on the origin of minty terpenoids in wine and on their evolution during ageing. In some vegetal species, as mint, these terpenoids arise from an enzymatic limonene biotransformation pathway, however also their chemical origin from limonene or other precursors may not be excluded.
In the present study, an experiment of model ageing was conducted on young Cabernet franc (CF) and
Merlot (M) wines, with the aim to give a contribution to the comprehension of the origin of minty terpenoids in aged wines. Two 1-year-old wines of the Bordeaux area, Merlot and Cabernet franc, were warmed under controlled conditions, in order to mimic a part of ageing. Limonene, 1,8-cineole, menthone, pulegone, carvone, piperitone, mintlactone, menthyl acetate and neomenthyl acetate were
determined at the beginning and after 2, 3, 7 and 11 days of accelerate ageing. The quantification of the minty terpenoids was performed by a new method that couples Headspace-SPME Arrow extraction with GC/MS-MS analysis (Lisanti et al., 2021).
During model ageing a progressive decrease of limonene concentration (up to 79%) was observed in both wines, whereas an increase was found for piperitone (+110% CF, +201% M), mintlactone (not detected in young wines), 1,8-cineole (+61% CF, +53% M) and neomenthyl acetate (+511% CF). Pulegone, menthone, carvone and menthyl acetate showed a different general trend: an initial increase was observed, followed by a decrease, with some differences between CF and M.  
In this work, for the first time the formation of some minty terpenoids was observed in red wines. Our
results suggest that a chemical conversion of limonene into its derivatives may occur. Also, the formation from precursors (volatile or non-volatile) may not be excluded. This study open the way to further investigation on the chemical mechanisms involved during real wine ageing.


Lisanti M.T., Laboirye J., Franc C., Luzzini G. Moio L., de Revel G., Marchand S. (2019). The limonene-derived mint aroma compounds in red wines. Recent advances on analytical, chemical and sensory aspects. Oral communication OENO-IVAS 2019- Bordeaux (France). 
Lisanti, M. T., Laboyrie, J., Marchand-Marion, S., de Revel, G., Moio, L., Riquier, L., & Franc, C. (2021). Minty aroma compounds in red wine: Development of a novel automated HS-SPME-arrow and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry quantification method. Food Chem, 361, 130029.
Picard, M., de Revel, G., & Marchand, S. (2017). First identification of three p-menthane lactones and their potential precursor, menthofuran, in red wines. Food Chem, 217, 294-302.
Picard, M., Lytra, G., Tempere, S., Barbe, J. C., de Revel, G., & Marchand, S. (2016). Identification of piperitone as an aroma compound contributing to the positive mint nuances perceived in aged red Bordeaux wines. J Agric Food Chem, 64, 451-460.
Picard, M., Tempere, S., de Revel, G., & Marchand, S. (2015). A sensory study of the ageing bouquet of red Bordeaux wines: A three-step approach for exploring a complex olfactory concept. Food Qual Pref, 42, 110-122.

Keywords: Limonene derivatives, freshness, ageing bouquet, piperitone, terpenoids

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