Sensory characterisation and consumer perspectives of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon wine typicity

Aim: To identify the sensory attributes responsible for the typicity of Cabernet Sauvignon wines from three Australian Geographical Indications (GIs) and to explore consumer purchase behaviour and preference with regard to regional wines.

Methods and Results: Descriptive analysis (DA) was applied to identify the sensory profiles of vintage 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Coonawarra (n = 24), Margaret River (n = 10), Yarra Valley (n = 13), and Bordeaux (n = 5). A trained panel (3 males and 7 females) rated 45 aroma, flavour, and mouthfeel attributes, of which 19 were found to be significantly different among the wine samples. Results from canonical variate analysis demonstrated that Bordeaux wines had a more distinct sensory profile compared to the Australian regions; within the Australian regions, wines from Margaret River had a closer profile to those from Yarra Valley than Coonawarra. Of the wines that underwent DA, two from each region were chosen for a study involving consumers (n = 112) that were divided into two groups. One group was informed of the regions prior to tasting each sample and the other group had no information about region. Consumers were surveyed about their wine purchase behaviour, knowledge of wine typicity, preference for the wines, and sensory profile of each wine using rate-all-that-apply methodology.

Conclusions: Bordeaux wines had a more distinct sensory profile compared to the Australian regions, and were associated with developed characters including ‘savoury’, ‘tobacco’, and ‘earthy’. Wines from Margaret River were deemed to possess a fruit-forward profile along with ‘floral’ characters. With a similar profile to Margaret River, Yarra Valley wines were also found to have a greater incidence of ‘red fruits’ and ‘cooked vegetables’ attributes. Coonawarra wines were characterised by ‘chocolate/vanilla’, ‘mint’, and ‘mallee leaf’ attributes and were rated low in ‘cooked vegetables’. When consumers were informed of the wine region of origin there was an apparent increase in their liking scores, with the effect seeming to be positively related to familiarity with the region. 

Significance and Impact of the Study: Well-established for “Old World” wine producers, typicity is a concept that incorporates aspects of cultivar and terroir of a wine, and acts as a wine quality indicator. Australia also has a range of terroirs contributing to the characters of regional wines, and knowing more about the drivers of distinctiveness can help harness terroir in the promotion of fine Australian wines at an international level. This extends to understanding wine consumers’ behaviours, and being able to attend to their expectations in an objective manner.

Authors: Lira Souza Gonzaga, Dimitra L. Capone, Susan E.P. Bastian and David W. Jeffery*

Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, and School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, Waite Campus, PMB 1, Glen
Osmond, South Australia 5064, Australia


Keywords: Descriptive analysis, hedonics, typicality, regionality, consumer preference

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