ASSESSING THE ROLE OF 27 KNOWN BITTER COMPOUNDS IN COMMERCIAL WHITE WINES COMBINING LC-MS QUANTIFICATION AND SENSORY ANALYSIS
The balance between the different flavours of a wine largely determines its perception and appreciation by the consumers. In white wines, sweetness and sourness are usually the two poles balancing the taste properties. The bitter flavour, on the other hand, is frequently associated with a loss of equilibrium and all white wines (dry and sweet, young and aged) are affected.
Several bitter compounds are already well-described in wines. Some are linked to microorganisms as acrolein (Bauer et al., 2010) or oak wood, for example lyoniresinol (Cretin et al., 2015), while others come directly from grapes: mostly phenolic (Hufnagel and Hofmann, 2008) and nitrogen compounds (Roudot-Algaron, 1996). Furthermore, the enhancing role played by ethanol has also been well established (Cretin et al., 2018). The present study aims to determine the influence of twenty-seven known bitter compounds on the taste of various commercial white wines.
Thirty wines have been selected and submitted to sensory analysis by a trained panel. The various intensities of sourness, sweetness and bitterness have been determined for each wine. Jointly, five quantification methods have been developed and validated using liquid chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Exactive, Orbitrap analyzer) in order to determine the amount of the selected bitter compounds.
Potential correlations between the described tastes of the wines and concentrations of bitter molecules have been assessed. For the most relevant compounds, detection thresholds have been updated using the same trained panel, enabling a better understanding of the impact of various compounds.
This study enlightens the role of already known bitter compounds in bitter wine. It is also leading the way to further research as some wine’s taste remain unexplained by the selected compounds, thus confirming the potential presence of still unknown bitter compounds.
Issue: OENO Macrowine 2023
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LC-MS quantiﬁcation, sensory analysis, bitterness, wine