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Assessing desirable levels of sensory properties in Sauvignon Blanc wines – consumer preferences and contribution of key aroma compounds

E.S. KING, P. OSIDACZ, C. CURTIN, S.E.P. BASTIAN, I.L. FRANCIS; Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 169–180, June

This study aimed to investigate the sensory properties and aroma compounds responsible for driving consumer preference of Sauvignon wines. Three thiols, including their respective enantiomers, a methoxypyrazine and a combination of esters were added singly and in combinations to a neutral white wine at realistic concentrations to mimic Sauvignon Blanc wines. A sensory descriptive analysis of 21 samples was conducted. While each thiol contributed to tropical and cat urine/sweaty attributes, 3-mercaptohexyl acetate (3MHA) was of particular importance. The ‘green’ characteristics were primarily related to methoxypyrazine, but thiols were also found to contribute to a cooked green vegetal attribute. The aroma and flavour of the methoxypyrazine dominated the sensory properties of other components. The thiol S-enantiomers gave higher cooked green vegetal or cat urine/sweaty than their R-counterparts. Six combinations and the base wine were evaluated for liking by 150 consumers. One cluster of consumers (31%) preferred wines with higher tropical and confectionary aroma; a second cluster (43%) preferred wines with ‘green’ attributes; and the final cluster's liking was positively related to solvent and ‘green’ attributes, and negatively to tropical and cat urine/sweaty. There were strong and varied interactive effects among the compounds studied. A sizeable proportion of consumers tested preferred the samples with ‘green’ attributes, with a minority preferring the ‘fruit’ aromas. Significance of the Study: This study has shown clear definition of sensory attributes resulting from aroma compounds important to Sauvignon Blanc wines, their interactions and their effects on consumer preference. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article)

Published on 06/06/2012
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