Twenty rose and ten claret A.O.C. Bordeaux wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc and Merlot grapes were separately tasted by the same jury of ten professionals. They were asked to classify the wines according to the intensity of the fruity character. The fruitiest sample was given first rank. The wines’ bdamascenone, b-ionone, phenyl-2-ethanol, isoamyl acetate, phenyl-ethyl acetate (APE), 3-mercaptohexan-1-ol (3MH) and 3-mercaptohexyl acetate (A3MH) contents were also measured. The higher the latter three compounds' values, the higher the wines’ fruity character. Highly significant correlation were found between the sensorial analysis results and these compounds contents. In order to confirm the 3MH, A3MH and APE contribution to the fruity aroma of rose wines, a tasting has been carried out. For this, these three compounds were added to a rose wine up to the concentrations found in the wine judged the fruitiest by the tasters. 100 % of the tasters identified the supplemented glasses, and 90 % prefered the supplemented wine. This second experiment clearly demonstrate that 3MH, A3MH and APE can be considered key components of Bordeaux rose wines’ fruity aroma.
The production of APE by yeast has been known for a long time. The 3MH is present in must under cysteinylated precursor form. The transformation of the precursor into aroma is made by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeasts during alcoholic fermentation. Thus the choice of yeast strains has a decisive impact on the fruity aroma of Bordeaux rose and claret wines.
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