Sensory representation of typicality of Cabernet franc wines related to phenolic composition: impact of ripening stage and maceration time.Anal Chim Acta 2012; 732:91-9AC
Phenolics are responsible for important sensory properties of red wines, including colour, astringency, and possibly bitterness. From a technical viewpoint, the harvest date and the maceration duration are critical decisions for producing red wine with a distinctive style. But little is known about the evolution of phenolics and of their extractability during ripening to predict the composition of the wine and related sensory properties. The aim of this study was to understand the relationship between the sensory profile of the wines and (i) the ripening stage of the berries (harvest date) and (ii) the extraction time (maceration duration). Phenolic acids, flavonols, anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins of Vitis Vinifera var. Cabernet franc were measured in grapes and in wines from two stages of maturity and with two maceration durations. Phenolic composition was analysed by high performance liquid chromatography, after fractionation and thiolysis for proanthocyanidins. The distinctive style of wines was investigated by descriptive analysis (trained panel), Just About Right profiles and typicality assessment (wine expert panel). Relationships between phenolics and sensory attributes were established by multidimensional analysis, and phenolics were classified according to sensory data by ANOVA and PLS regressions. Astringency, bitterness, colour intensity and alcohol significantly increased with ripening and astringency and colour intensity increased with maceration time. Grape anthocyanins increased and thiolysis yield significantly decreased with ripening. In wine, proanthocyanidins increased, and mean degree of polymerisation and thiolysis yield decreased with longer extraction time. The high impact of harvest date on the sensory profiles could be due to changes in anthocyanin and sugar contents, but also to an evolution of proanthocyanidins. Moreover, proanthocyanidin composition was affected by maceration time as suggested by the decrease of thiolysis yield. Our results suggest that the wine sensory quality established by the expert panel, is linked as expected to grape quality at harvest, reflected by sugar and anthocyanin contents, but also by thiolysis yield, which requires elucidation.