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Impact of exogenous tannin additions on wine chemistry and wine sensory character

Harbertson, J. F.; Parpinello, G. P.; Heymann, H.; Downey, M. O.; Food Chemistry 2012, 131 (3) 999–1008

Tannins are an important part of wine quality and are frequently added during winemaking. Tannin additives and their impact on wine are poorly documented. This work sought to characterize a range of enological tannins and their contribution to wine quality. Enological tannins were analysed for protein precipitable tannins and iron reactive phenolics. One tannin product was added to a Merlot wine during barrel ageing, at a range of concentrations from 60 to 300mg/l. Condensed and hydrolysable tannins were added to Cabernet Sauvignon wine post-pressing at a recommended and excessive rate. Wines were analysed for anthocyanin, small and large polymeric pigment, precipitable tannin, iron reactive phenolics and sensory character. Enological tannins contained 12-48% tannin and recommended additions had little impact on wine tannin. High tannin additions were readily measured in the wines and were discriminated in sensory analysis with lower intensities of most parameters except brown colour, bitterness and earthy character. Recommended addition rates are too low to impact the measured tannin concentration of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from Washington (USA). High enological tannin additions had a measureable impact on final wine had a negative impact on sensory character. Tannins are added to wines for a range of reasons and represent one of many input costs in an industry increasingly seeking efficiencies in response to global economic circumstances, over-supply and an ongoing price point squeeze. This research suggests many tannin additions may be unjustified and have limited or negative impacts on quality. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article)
Published on 10/16/2012
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