12 January - 20 June 2016

Different flavour notes in wine have different staying powers

7 May 14

A recently published study in Food Quality and Preference compared how long different flavour components in white wine lingered on the palate. The study focused on four specific flavour compounds, each of which is known to contribute to different sensory qualities in wine: linalool is associated with green, floral and citrus notes; ethyl hexanoate with fruity or apple; 1-octen-3-ol with mushroom; and oak lactone with vanilla, wood and coconut.

The researchers recruited trained sensory panellists who performed time intensity evaluations on wines containing one of the four relevant flavour compounds, and wines containing combinations of two or four of the compounds. This entailed using time-intensity software to record perception of particular flavour notes over time, at ten-second intervals until the flavour was no longer perceived.

It was found that in wines containing either one or two of the compounds in question, the fruity flavour finished significantly earlier than did the floral, mushroom and coconut, with no significant difference in time to finish between the latter three. Results were more complex for the four-compound wines, but it was observed that the fruity flavour finished significantly earlier than the floral. The researchers note that these results are in agreement with "conventional wisdom" on the subject of fruity notes in wine, that had not previously been supported by scientific analysis.

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