Intense aromas of blackcurrant and red fruit characterize the sensory profile of some red wines that are very much appreciated by consumers. Over the last decade, researchers have shown that varietal thiols such as 4MMP, 3MHA and 3MH, first identified in Sauvignon blanc, are volatile aromatic compounds responsible for and/or contributing to the expression of these aromas in red wines. Consequently, research on the expression of varietal thiols in red grape varieties is a promising worldwide trend.
The aim of this WSG Live is to present state-of-the-art scientific literature focusing on the maximization of varietal thiols from the vineyard to the finished red wines.
The presentation will start with an overview of wine aromas, with a strong focus on varietal thiols (their nature, nomenclature, and history) including the aromatic contribution of varietal thiols in wines. The varietal thiol precursors and their location in the berry will also be presented. Their biogenesis in red wines will be explained.
In the final part of the webinar, the evolution of these volatile compounds during wine ageing and storage conditions and the results of a trial conducted during the 2019 vintage will be presented.
Marco Li Calzi received his PhD in Pharmacology from Mario Negri Institute in Milan (Italy) in 1995. He then spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher in the Biochemistry Department of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC. Marco returned to Italy and worked, between 1998 and 2007 as a sales representative in the pharmaceuticals industry for Merck in the Verona area (Northern Italy).
The passion for wine pushed Marco to get enrolled into an Enology & Viticulture bachelor’s degree program at the University of Bologna. He obtained his degree in December 2008. Between July 2007 and December 2009, Marco was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Viticulture & Enology department of the University of California, Davis. Marco was then an Assistant Professor and the Enology Program Leader of the ICCVE, at the University of Missouri, Columbia (January 2010-February 2012). His appointment was on teaching, research (on wine aroma compounds) and extension.
Between September 2014 and February 2019 Marco was an Assistant/Associate Professor of Enology and Sensory Science at the Ecole d’Ingénieurs de PURPAN, in Toulouse, France. Marco is currently a consultant and trainer, and he holds the Technical Director position at the Enolfactive company that he co-founded with two associates in 2017.
A BIT OF WINE CHEMISTRY: Lessons from Champagne
Day one of the Champagne study trip initiated a discussion which continued throughout the week of factors impacting aromas and flavors in champagne. Broadly, aromas can be categorized into the impacts of grape variety, terroir, vinification, and post-production events (influencing individual bottles versus entire “batches”).
This article will focus upon the biochemistry of sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, and sugars in an acidic environment (esters arising from acidification of alcohol); the intent is not intended to be comprehensive. For purposes of this essay, the use of the word aroma will include the complex notes of aging characterized as “bouquet.”
“Although many efforts have been made to characterize the quality and flavor of the compounds in wine… tasting remains the single universal test used… This is because the taste of a molecule, or blend of molecules, is constructed within the brain of a taster.” F. Brochet and D. Dubourdieu, 2001
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