Parameterization and modeling of the quality, taste longevity and sensations in the mouth of Spanish wines for a resilient and excellent wine industry

Ministry of Science and Innovation: KNOWLEDGE GENERATION PROJECTS

Responsible scientists: Mª Pilar Sáenz Navajas and Purificación Fernández Zurbano,

One of the most relevant challenges of the Spanish wine industry is the need to increase consumer appreciation for higher quality wines at higher price points in the market, which is unequivocaly linked to a period of aging for reaching balanced in-mouth properties. Balanced wine palate properties (i.e., mouthfeel and taste) define wine style and typicality, thus increasing knowledge in this field will provide tools to the wine industry to promote their uniqueness and superiority. Notably, palate properties are being considerably affected by climate change, which generates modifications in the polyphenolic profile and content, leading to the appearance of mouthfeel sensations related to undesirable sensory properties and consequently important sensory deviations during wine aging. Despite the importance aging and longevity of wines for palate properties in modulating wine quality, their chemical drivers are not entirely understood, probably because of the technical difficulty in approaching its study. In this context, the present study is aimed to develop the knowledge, new sensory-directed strategies and bench-tests for assessing wine tendency to aging and obtain predictive models able to define the preferable date of consumption of wines. To achive this goal, a set of a relatively wide range of Spanish red wines will be subjected to controlled stimulii (time x temperature, oxygen). These wines will be chemically and sensory characterised learning algorithms to obtain predictive models. Therefore, models will be built by predicting sensory properties of wines from the chemical data set (concentration of compounds with sensory activity, or simple-to-acquire data including voltammetry and spectrofluorometry data).

The present work will 1) increase knowledge about the chemical variables and mechanisms driving different mouthfeel properties of red wine tannins and anthocyanins (and derived pigments), and about the specific structural units generating these sensations by applying targeted and untargeted metabolomics, 2) develop reference standards illustrating the mouthfeel dimensions of red wines working under the hypothesis that these dimensions can be illustrated by touch material, 3) provide the key operational tools for developing a controlled aging experiment that will allow to model and predict the shelflife of wines, 4) develop new analytical tools easy to implement in the winery (voltammetry and spectrofluorometry coupled to a data acquisition and model construction tool) for predicting the evolution during aging of taste and mouthfeel properties.