The relatively unknown sesquiterpene rotundone was identified as an important aroma impact compound with a strong spicy, ‘pepper’ aroma in grapes and wine from a number of varieties including Shiraz and Duras. An aroma detection threshold of 16 ng/L in red wine indicates that rotundone is a major contributor to peppery characters in Shiraz grapes and wine, and also in wine of other varieties; rotundone is also found in a number of common spices.
Rotundone is quite unusual for a wine aroma compound as it comes directly from grapes, has a very low sensory threshold, and is relatively stable in wine. This opens opportunities to influence the level of rotundone in wine, ‘pepper’ aroma and flavour, and wine style and consumer preferences, through clonal selection, viticultural practices or by varying winemaking procedures.
Oral paper presented at "Colloques Internationaux sur les Arômes du Vin" (VINAROMAS Project), held on 20 and 22 November 2012 in Toulouse (France) and Zaragoza (Spain)