The pigments responsible for a wine’s colour also change its flavour

Thursday March 11 2021 by Vitisphere

 Further testing is needed to understand all these interactions. Further testing is needed to understand all these interactions. - Photo credit : Boisset

Anthocyanins not only give wine its colour, they also change its flavour. That is according to Maria Alessandra Paissoni, from the University of Turin, speaking at the latest Enoforum session on winemaking.


As part of her PhD, the Italian researcher began by extracting all the anthocyanins from a Barbera and a Nebbiolo vinted in 2015. “Then I divided them into three groups according to their level of acetylation, glucoside, acetyl-glucoside, or coumaroyl-glucoside” she explained. She then put each fraction in the presence of salivary proteins. “The higher the acetylation level, the more the anthocyanins precipitated them”, she said. Paissoni organised sensory analysis sessions with trained students from the Bordeaux Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences.


She also asked them to describe the sensations they felt when tasting solutions with 12% alcohol, 3.5 pH and 4g/L of tartaric acid, to which had been added either 1g/L of anthocyanins from the skins or 1g/L of anthocyanins from the pips, 300mg/L of a total fraction of anthocyanins, or 400 mg/L of the glucoside fraction. “Bitterness”, “aggressiveness”, “salinity” and “heat” were the most commonly used descriptors.


When I asked them to rate the intensity of these descriptors, the strongest astringency was found in the solution containing the anthocyanins in the skin”, continued Paissoni. When she added the total anthocyanin or glucoside fraction to this solution, the perception of astringency decreased. “I obtained opposite results using the anthocyanins in the pips”, she said.


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