Red wine astringency is generally considered to be the sensory result of salivary protein precipitation following tannin–salivary protein interaction and/or tannin adhering to the oral mucosa.
Astringency in red wine is often described using qualitative terms, such as hard and soft. Differences in qualitative description are thought to be due in part to the tannin structure. Tannin chemistry contributions to qualitative description have been shown to correlate with the enthalpy of interaction between tannin and a hydrophobic surface.
On the basis of these findings, a method was developed that enabled the routine determination of the thermodynamics of the tannin interaction with a hydrophobic surface (polystyrene divinylbenzene) for tannins in red wine following direct injection.
The optimized analytical method monitored elution at four different column temperatures (25–40 °C, in 5 °C increments), had a 20 min run time, and was monitored at 280 nm.
The results of this study confirm that the calculated thermodynamics of the interaction are intensive and, therefore, provide specific thermodynamic information.
Variation in the enthalpy of interaction between tannin and a hydrophobic surface (tannin stickiness) is a unique, concentration-independent analytical parameter.
The method, in addition to providing information on tannin stickiness, provides the tannin concentration.
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