Can wine competition awarded points be correlated with wine chromatic and aromatic composition?

The quality of wine is difficult to define. This is most certainly accredited to everyone´s different perception of quality. Some of the indicators of high-quality wines are complexity, balance, color and intensity. Color is one of the most crucial attributes of quality, not only for the obvious implications for their perception but also because they are indicators of other aspects related to its aroma and taste. Phenolic compounds are the main responsible for wine color, being anthocyanin and tannins the most determinant compounds in red wines. In addition to color, wine aroma is another important attribute linked with quality and consumer preferences. Most of the compounds responsible for wine aroma are volatile molecules and can be classified into chemical families, such as alcohols, carbonyl compounds, acids and esters, sulfur and nitrogen compounds, terpenes, phenols, lactones and hydrocarbons. The most common way to classify wines according to their quality is by means of sensory analysis. But, is there any relation between the physicochemical composition of the wines and the scores given by the experts? The objective of this work was to study the relationship between chromatic and aromatic profiles and the sensory scores awarded in an official wine contest for sixty-seven Monastrell wines (including young wines without wood contact, young wines with wood contact and wines with long wood aging) from different commercial wineries. Physicochemical, chromatic and aromatic-active compounds were measured by spectrophotometric and SPME‐GC/MS determinations and were correlated with the sensory scores. The statistical analysis of the results showed a significant correlation between some of the parameters determined and the score obtained, highlighting the positive and significant correlation between the total score awarded by judges and the parameters of color intensity and total polyphenol index of the wines. The higher scores were associated with the higher phenolic and tannin content, wines with long oak aging obtained the best correlation for both parameters (TPI and total tannin). No significant correlation was observed between the overall score of the wines and any of the families of aroma compounds studied. However, we could find a significant positive correlation between the aromatic composition of the wines and their price. Statistical results obtained from the correlation between scores awarded by expert panelist judges (i.e., wine reviewers, winemaker or wine researcher) and aromatic, chromatic and phenolic composition of wines, can lead to a distinction between wines considered to be at the higher and the lower end of wine quality. Furthermore, certain sensory characteristics appeared to be more important when judging the overall quality of the wine. Finally, the aging oak wines obtained a better correlation between total scores awarded and other parameters analyzed than young wines.

Authors: Martínez-Moreno Alejandro1, Martínez-Pérez Pilar1, Bautista-Ortin Ana Belén1 Pérez-Porras Paula1 and Gomez-Plaza Encarna1

1Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Murcia

*corresponding author: martinezamoreno@gmail.com

Keywords: Monastrell, Wine contest, sensory analysis.

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