SENSORY EVALUATION OF WINE AROMA: SHOULD COLOR-DRIVEN DESCRIPTORS BE USED?
The vocabulary used to describe wine aroma is commonly organized according to color, raising the question of whether they reflect the reality of olfactory perception. Previous studies have assumed this convention of color-aroma matching, and have investigated color’s influence on the perception of aroma only in dyed white wine or in red wine from particular places of origin. Here 48 white and red varietal wines from around the world were evaluated in black glasses then in clear glasses by a panel of wine experts, who gave intensity ratings for aroma attributes commonly used by wine professionals. In black glasses, aromas conventionally associated with white wine were perceived in the red wines, and vice versa. When wine color was made visible, ratings for green fruit, citrus fruit, and stone fruit generally decreased among the red wines and increased among the white wines, while the opposite occurred for red fruit, dark fruit, and oak. This dependence of aroma perception on visual input suggests the usage of certain descriptors by experts is more cognitive than purely sensorial. The influence of color was indirectly evident even in black glasses: three oaked Chardonnays were rated highly in red fruit and dark fruit, relative to the unoaked white wines, suggesting the judges here associated oak with red wine and consequently used oakiness to deduce wine color before rating the aromas believed to be appropriate. Findings suggest color-driven descriptors, used when wine color can be seen or surmised, do not foster objective assessments of wine aroma.
Issue: OENO Macrowine 2023
Weincampus Neustadt, Dienstleistungszentrum Ländlicher Raum (DLR) Rheinpfalz, Breitenweg 71, 67435 Neustadt an der Weinstraße, Germany
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Aroma, Cognition, Color, Expertise