Grapevine & Wine 04/06/2012

Not only Syrah is able to make peppery wines

An Australian research had finally discovered the molecule that is responsible for the olfactory peppery aroma. An Italian research found out that Schioppettino and Vespolina have the same characteristics then Syrah

After the great success of Syrah wines because of the peppery note that fascinates consumers and experts, Australian research started investigating the origin of this feature. The research found that the molecule responsible for peppery notes is a terpenes called rotundone. The work of the scientists then concentrated on understanding whether it was possible, given the peculiar geographical and agronomic characteristics of a wine, to modify the percentage content of this molecule in wines.

The Australian scientists, with a bit of patriotic attitude, highlighted that this is a specific feature of Syrah and of the geographical characteristics of Australia.

However, this study was shortly followed by an Italian study held by the Agricultural Institute of San Michele all’Adige that showed that rotundone is typical of many varieties of grape. Among the others, also the Italian Schioppettino and Vespolina. As a matter of fact, both in Schioppettino and Vespolina wines rotundone has been found in concentration of even 560 ng/L, 35 times the sensory threshold.

The Italian research analyzed also some Austrian and Spanish cultivars. In this way, the Italian scientists discovered that the peppery note is not just typical of red wines. Gruner Veltliner, which represents the 33% of Austrian wine production, showed rotundone levels over 17 times the sensory threshold.

The research of professor Mattivi also discovered that rotundone is mainly present in skins. This means that, most probably, a well-planned use of skin maceration could heavily influence the concentration of rotundone in the final product.

di R. T.