The limonene-derived mint aroma compounds in red wines. Recent advances on analytical, chemical aspects and sensory aspects

In recent years, the ageing bouquet of red Bordeaux wines has been partially unveiled by a chemical and sensory point of view1–3. Minty and fresh notes were found to play a key role in the definition of this complex concept, moreover the freshness dimension in fine aged red wines plays an important role in typicity judgement by wine professionals. Piperitone, a monoterpene ketone, was identified as a contributor to the positive mint aroma of aged red Bordeaux wines4,5. Further chemical and sensory investigations led to identification of a pool of mint aroma compounds (i.e. p-menthane lactones, carvone and menthol) potentially responsible for these positive olfactory notes.
The analyses of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from various terroirs of the Bordeaux area suggested that there was a varietal influence on the mint aroma compound profiles5. Recently, a study in which we defined the terpenic profile of the two Italian grape varieties Corvina and Corvinone, confirmed that the concentration of the mint compounds is variety dependent, despite the terroir of origin of grapes.
These results revealed that Corvina wines were significantly richer in the pool of minty terpenes, in all the considered terroirs. Our recent results also revealed that these compounds already exist in the young wines, but at lower concentrations than in aged ones, thus suggesting that the mint compounds in wine reveal themselves during ageing. The mechanisms of this revelation are still unclear and are today studied. The results of the last years have opened the way to many questions that are still not answered and require further studies, in particular the role of the soil, viticultural practices, climate, rootstocks and varieties must be investigated. The determination of these compounds in wine is quite complex, as they are present at ng/L levels; however, they are sensory active also at trace levels, due to their low perception thresholds and synergistic sensory effect4.
The coupling of HS-SPME Arrow extraction and GC-MS-MS analysis has permitted to develop and validate an automated method of quantification. The development of this simple, sensitive and accurate analytical methods will allow to analyse large sets of wine, thus deepening the knowledge on the origin and expression of the minty and fresh aromas in wine, one of the most important piece of the puzzle of the ageing bouquet.

(1) Picard, M.; Tempere, S.; de Revel, G.; Marchand, S. Food Qual. Prefer. 2015, 42, 110–122.
(2) Picard, M.; Thibon, C.; Redon, P.; Darriet, P.; De Revel, G.; Marchand, S. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2015, 63 (40), 8879–8889.
(3) Slaghenaufi, D.; Perello, M.-C.; Marchand, S.; de Revel, G. Food Chem. 2016, 203, 41–48.
(4) Picard, M.; de Revel, G.; Marchand, S. Food Chem. 2017, 217, 294–302.
(5) Picard, M.; Tempere, S.; De Revel, G.; Marchand, S. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2016, 64 (40), 7576–7584.

Authors: Maria Tiziana Lisanti 1, JustineLaboyrie 2, Céline Franc 2, Giovanni Luzzini 3, Davide Slaghenaufi 3, Maurizio Ugliano 3, Luigi Moio 1, Gilles de Revel 2, Stephanie Marchand 2

1) Universitàdegli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Sezione di Scienze della Vigna e del Vino, 83100 Avellino, Italy
2) Unité de recherche Oenologie, EA 4577, USC 1366 INRA, ISVV, Université de Bordeaux, F33882 Villenave d’Ornon France
3) Wine chemistry laboratory Department of Biotechnology University of Verona Villa Ottolini-Lebrecht

Email: mariatiziana.lisanti@unina.it

Keywords: mint aromas, red wine, aging, terroir 

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