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Understanding sweetness of dry wines: first evidence of astilbin isomers in red wines

Marie Le Scanff, ISVV University of Bordeaux - France

Understanding sweetness of dry wines: first evidence of astilbin isomers in red wines

The gustatory balance of wines relies on sweetness, bitterness and sourness. In dry wines, sweetness does not result from the presence of residual sugar as in sweet wines, but is due to other non-volatile compounds. Such taste-active compounds are released during winemaking, by grapes, yeasts or oak wood and belong numerous chemical families. Beyond this diversity, stereochemistry of molecules can also influence their sensory properties. 

However, the molecular determinants associated with this taste have only been partially elucidated. Astilbin (2R, 3R) was recently reported to contribute to wine sweetness. As its aglycon contains two stereogenic centers, three other stereoisomers may be present: neoisoastilbin (2S, 3R), isoastilbin (2R, 3S), and neoastilbin (2S, 3S). These compounds have already been observed in natural products, but never in wine.

This work presented by Marie Le Scanff aimed at assaying their presence for the first time in wines as well as their taste properties, gathering new insights to understand the chemical origin of wine taste. What did sensory analysis highlight? Did the sweet taste of these stereoisomers intensity vary according to their configuration? What did the quantification results of one-century range of red vintages from different AOC's reveal about the concentrations of astilbin and the other isomers in young versus old wines?

Video of the seminar held during Macrowine virtual (June 23-30, 2021)

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Published on 06/01/2022
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