Laboratory for Flavour Analysis and Enology (LAAE-Rioja)

Group members: 
Purificación Fernández Zurbano: 
María-Pilar Sáenz-Navajas: 
Tenured Scientific CSIC
Marta Dizy Soto: 
Associated Professor
Marivel González: 
Post-doc Researcher
Ignacio Arias: 
Post-doc Researcher
Carolina Castillo Río: 
Research Assistant

Our main research interest is to understand the chemical basis of flavour, especially in the wine industry. This main line of research is carried out in collaboration with the associated Unit to ICVV: Laboratory for Flavor Analysis and Enology (LAAE) at Universidad de Zaragoza. This is approached following a multidisciplinary strategy combining flavour chemistry, psychophysics and cognitive psychology that is tackled in the framework of specific sublines of research:


• Elucidation of the chemical basis of taste and chemesthesic sensations
• Understanding sensory interactions (e.g., aroma-taste, aroma-astringency, taste-astringency)
• Evaluation of the potential and phenolic quality of grapes
• Modeling/optimization of wine aging


The know-how acquired over more than 30 years allow us to offer an integrated analytical service for the most relevant sensory-active components of wine flavor:

Research and advice on wine flavor

- Sensory analysis. Characterization of wine flavour
- Identification and characterization of off-flavours  
- Production of aroma and taste references for the training and control of sensory panels
- Advice on the accreditation of panels for sensory evaluation

Analytical service for the analysis of sensory-actives compounds:

Varietal aromas: Thiols, terpenes
Fermentative aromas: Esters, alcohols, acids
Wood-derived aromas: Lactones, vanillins, phenols
Aroma Precursors: Glycosidic and cysteinyl precursors
Oxidation and reduction aromas: Aldehydes, DMS, mercaptans
Other off-odours: TCA, Brett
Polyphenols: Antocyanins, flavanols and tannins, tannin activity

Recent and relevant references:

Ferrero-del-Teso S., Arapitsas P., Jeffery D.W., Ferreira C., Mattivi F., Fernández-Zurbano P., Sáenz-Navajas M.-P. Exploring UPLC‐QTOF-MS‐based targeted and untargeted approaches for understanding wine mouthfeel: A sensometabolomic approach (2024) Food Chemistry, 437, art. no. 137726, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.137726

Suárez A., Rodrigues H., Williams S., Fernández-Zurbano P., Depetris-Chauvin N., Dunn G., Sáenz-Navajas M.-P. Effect of culture and familiarity on wine perception: a study with British and Spanish wine experts (2023) Oeno One, 57 (2), pp. 61 - 69, DOI: 10.20870/oeno-one.2023.57.2.7127

Sáenz-Navajas M.-P., Sánchez C., Gonzalez-Hernandez M., Bueno M., Peña C., Fernández-Zurbano P., Ballester J., Parga-Dans E., González P.A. Natural versus conventional production of Spanish white wines: an exploratory study (2023) Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 103 (7), pp. 3540 - 3549, DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.12479

de-la-Fuente-Blanco A., Sáenz-Navajas M.P., Ballester J., Franco-Luesma E., Valentin D., Ferreira V. Sensory dimensions derived from competitive and creative perceptual interactions between fruity ethyl esters and woody odorants in wine-like models. (2023) Oeno One, 57 (2), pp. 489 - 503, DOI: 10.20870/oeno-one.2023.57.2.7089

Rodrigues H., Valentin D., Franco-Luesma E., Ramaroson Rakotosamimanana V., Gomez-Corona C., Saldaña E., Sáenz-Navajas M.-P. How has COVID-19, lockdown and social distancing changed alcohol drinking patterns? A cross-cultural perspective between britons and Spaniards (2022) Food Quality and Preference, 95, art. no. 104344, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104344

Ferrero-del-Teso S., Suárez A., Ferreira C., Perenzoni D., Arapitsas P., Mattivi F., Ferreira V., Fernández-Zurbano P., Sáenz-Navajas M.-P. Modeling grape taste and mouthfeel from chemical composition (2022) Food Chemistry, 371, art. no. 131168, DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.131168

Oyinseye P., Suárez A., Saldaña E., Fernández-Zurbano P., Valentin D., Sáenz-Navajas M.-P. Multidimensional representation of wine drinking experience: Effects of the level of consumers’ expertise and involvement (2022) Food Quality and Preference, 98, art. no. 104536, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2022.104536

Gómez-Corona C., Ramaroson Rakotosamimanana V., Sáenz-Navajas M.P., Rodrigues H., Franco-Luesma E., Saldaña E., Valentin D. To fear the unknown: Covid-19 confinement, fear, and food choice (2021) Food Quality and Preference, 92, art. no. 104251, DOI:10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104251

Ferreira C., Sáenz-Navajas M.-P., Carrascón V., Næs T., Fernández-Zurbano P., Ferreira V. An assessment of voltammetry on disposable screen printed electrodes to predict wine chemical composition and oxygen consumption rates (2021) Food Chemistry, 365, art. no. 130405, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.130405

Arias-Pérez I., Sáenz-Navajas M.P., de-la-Fuente-Blanco A., Ferreira V., Escudero A. Insights on the role of acetaldehyde and other aldehydes in the odour and tactile nasal perception of red wine (2021) Food Chemistry, 361, art. no. 130081, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.130081