AIM AND METHODS: Grape withering is one of the key steps in the production of the most renowned red wines of the Valpolicella area, namely Amarone and Recioto. This practice, which was already used since Roman times, entails important modifications in grape composition and in the chemical and sensorial characteristics of the corresponding wines, especially in terms of aromatic profile. The aim of this research is evaluating the aromatic evolution during grape withering of the three main varieties used in Valpolicella wines: Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella.Samples of the three varieties were analyzed at harvest and at different stages of withering, namely10%, 20% and 30% of weight loss. Free and glycosidically bound compounds were extracted and analyzed using Gas Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). RESULTS: For all the samples the data were normalized to eliminate the effect of concentration due to grape dehydration. Terpene content and evolution varied considerably in relationship to grape variety. Corvinone was richer in cyclic terpenes (including phellandrene, limonene, and cymene) and they decreased during withering. Conversely, Corvina was richer in linalool, with a peak at 20% of weight loss. Also glycosylated nerol and geraniol were more abundant in Corvinone grapes, peaking at 20% of weight loss. Complex patterns of evolution were also observed for free and glycosylated benzenoids (mostly benzyl alcohol, vanillin, and methyl vanillate), which increased in Corvina and Corvinone while tended to decrease in Rondinella. CONCLUSIONS: The present results highlighted a variability between the different classes of aromatic compounds and between the three different varieties due to metabolic changes that do not depend solely on grape dehydration. As such, the results highlight the need for further investigations in the aromatic evolution of the grapes during the grape withering, with the aim of developed improved control strategies for Amarone and Recioto production.
Authors: Jessica Anahi Samaniego Solis University Of Verona – University of Verona, Giacomo CRISTANELLI, University of Verona Giovanni LUZZINI, University of Verona Davide SLAGHENAUFI, University of Verona Maurizio UGLIANO, University of Verona
Keywords: grape withering; terpenes; corvina; corvinone; rondinella