Sixteen California Cabernet Sauvignon wines were chosen to represent a spectrum of vegetal aroma characteristics. Sensory analysis by descriptive analysis profiling and experts’ groupings of the wines by similarity of aroma were completed for the wines. All wines were found to be significantly different from one another for all aroma terms rated by the descriptive panel, including the vegetal terms eucalyptus, bell pepper, olive, and cooked vegetable. The expert winemakers/enologists sorted the same wines into groups by three different similarity criteria: first, by similarity according to their own individual criteria; second, by intensity of vegetal aroma; and third, by intensity of sulfur defects. Comparison of the results from descriptive analysis and the expert panel sorting data revealed similarities in the classification of vegetal aromas for these wines regardless of the criteria used for sorting. Methoxypyrazines, typically associated with vegetal aromas, were also measured for these wines and were not correlated with any of the descriptive terms, suggesting that other classes of aroma compounds contribute to the vegetal aromas in wines. The results indicate a more complex interrelationship between chemical composition and sensory perception of vegetal aromas in Cabernet Sauvignon wines than had previously been hypothesized. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article.)

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