From the “climats de Bourgogne” to the terroir in bottles

From a chemical composition point of view, wine is the result of complex interplays between environmental, genetic and human factors. The notion of terroir in viticulture involves the vine and its environment, including phenology, geography, geology, pedology and local climate of a vineyard, along with human inputs. On that basis, it could be assumed that, if grapes hold chemical fingerprints from a given terroir in their compositions, wines made of these grapes should also reflect related fingerprints. Very few strategies, based on the metabolodiversity of grape and/or wine, have tried to tackle the concept of Terroir in wine so far. Here, we report on the application of ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry, used as an untargeted approach, to the study of complex biochemical fingerprints of Pinot noir grapes and related wines from different plots (climats) in Burgundy, but grown/made by the same vinegrower/winemaker. Over three successive vintages, samples were mostly discriminated according to vintages. However within a given vintage, terroir-related signatures were more pronounced in grapes than in wines. In contrast, the single-run analysis of the same wines after bottle ageing clearly allowed for a significant separation between closely related vineyards from the Côte de Beaune and the Côte de Nuits, regardless of the vintages. For the first time, such results indicate that non-targeted experiments can reveal memories of environmental factors, which have impacted the wine’s metabolic baggage at the moment of its elaboration, through terroir-related metabolic signatures on a regional-scale that can potentially be as small as the countless “climats” of Burgundy. 

Authors: Chloé Roullier-Gall (1,2), Marianna Lucio (2), Laurence Noret (1), Philippe Schmitt-Koplin (2,3) and Régis D. Gougeon (1) 

(1) Institut Universitaire de la vigne et du vin, Jules Guyot, UMR A 02.102 PAM AgroSupDijon/Université de Bourgogne, Rue Claude Ladrey, BP 27877, 21078 Dijon Cedex, France. 
(2) Analytical BioGeoChemistry, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85758 Neuherberg, Germany 
(3) Technische Universität München, Chair of Analytical Food Chemistry, Alte Akademie 1085354 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany. 

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Keywords: Pinot noir grapes, wine, terroir, FTICR-MS, vintage, “Climats de Bourgogne” 

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