Mango will be speaking in Session 5. Fresh Science A. Click here to see more.
Volatile phenols and phenolic glycosides can be used to identify smoke exposure in grapes and wine when concentrations are above those typically found in non-smoke exposed samples. But which smoke exposure markers are best able to predict smoky flavour in wine? And what concentrations result in discernible unpleasant smoky flavour?
During vintage 2020, thousands of samples of grapes and wine were suspected of smoke exposure and sent to laboratories for smoke analysis. As the vintage progressed, it became clear that grapegrowers and wine producers across many regions in Australia were facing difficult decisions about whether or not to make wine from smoke-exposed grapes. A research project was rapidly initiated to address the problem. A total of 65 grape lots with a range of smoke exposure were collected from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz vineyards in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria, and unoaked wines (50 kg scale) were produced under controlled conditions with no effort to remediate the effect of the smoke. The resulting wines showed a wide range of smoke flavour intensities as rated by a screened and trained sensory panel, with some showing no difference from control wines. Smoke exposure markers, both volatile phenols and glycosides, were analysed in the grapes and wines, and relationships between grape and wine chemistry and smoke flavour were explored. The ability of the smoke exposure markers to predict smoke flavour will be discussed, highlighting key markers, links to consumer response and differences between varieties.
Dr Mango Parker is a Research Scientist leading an AWRI research project on the sensory and chemical impact of smoke. Her work focuses on the links between grape composition, wine composition and sensory effects and the impact of early-season smoke exposure. She has 20 years of wine research experience and has been involved in smoke research since 2009. Her research interests include wine flavour chemistry and phenolic chemistry. Mango has won numerous awards for her work, including the inaugural Manfred Rothe Gold Award for Excellence in Flavour Science for her PhD studies which pioneered understanding of glycoside flavour release during wine consumption. She particularly enjoys the challenge of bringing together complex science and practical outcomes.