Identification of aroma markers in amarone wines


AIM AND METHODS: Amarone is an Italian red wine produced in the Valpolicella area, in north-eastern Italy. Due to its elaboration with withered grapes, Amarone is a rather unique example of dry red wine. However, there is very limited data so far concerning the volatile composition of commercial Amarone wines, which also undergo a cask aging of 2-4 years before release. The present work aims at characterizing the aroma composition of Amarone and to elucidate the relationships between chemical composition and sensory characters. The analysis of 17 Amarone commercial wines from the same vintage (2015) was carried out by means of Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and extracted by Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and Solid Phase Micro Extraction (SPME). In addition, the sampled wines were subjected to a sensory evaluation in the form of sorting task.

RESULTS: 70 volatile compounds were successfully identified and quantified, 30 of which were present in concentrations above their odor thresholds in all the samples. Using the odor activity value (OAV), the compounds that potentially contribute to Amarone perceived aroma are b-damascenone, ethyl and isoamyl acetate, ethyl esters (hexanoate, octanoate, butanoate, 3-methybutanoate), 4-ethyl guaiacol, 3-methylbutanoic acid, dimethyl sulfide (DMS), eugenol, massoia lactone, 1,4-cineol, TDN, cis/trans-whisky lactone. In certain samples, high OAVs were also observed for 4-ethyl phenol and 1,8-cineole.Results from the sorting task sensory analysis showed three clusters formed. Cluster 1 composed of eight wines and described as “red fruit”, “solvent” and “sweet spices”. Cluster 2 formed by four Amarone was associated mainly with the “animal” and “oak/toasted” attributes. And cluster 3 (five wines) described with the attribute “cooked fruit”.


To our knowledge the present research is the first attempt to identify and classify Amarone della Valpolicella commercial wines. This study is still underwork but interesting outcomes have been obtained so far, which could help us to determine if withering could promote the formation of novel aroma compounds.


Publication date: September 15, 2021

Issue: Macrowine 2021

Type: Article


Jessica Anahi Samaniego Solis

University of Verona,Giovanni LUZZINI, University of Verona Davide SLAGHENAUFI, University of Verona Maurizio UGLIANO, University of Verona

Contact the author


amarone; wine aroma; aroma markers; passito style


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