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Study of the possibility of discrimination by an electronic nose of Feteasca regala wines produced with neutral and aromatic yeasts

Published in Scientific Papers. Series B. Horticulture, Vol. LVI
Written by Arina Oana ANTOCE

Feteasca regala is a Romanian grape variety with a specific, non-mistakable aroma. This wine aroma is appreciated by many consumers accustomed with it, but there are also some consumers who tend to avoid it. In order to make this wine more acceptable for a greater number of consumers the aromatic profile may be manipulated by fermenting the grape juice with yeasts able to produce certain flavour compounds, which can cover the original specific varietal aroma. In this study, a highly aromatic yeast (Flavour 2000), a low aromatic yeast (Premium blanc) and a neutral yeast (Montrachet) were used to produce Feteasca regala wines with various aromatic profiles. In some samples, tannin was also added at fermentation time, as a supplementary protection against oxidation, so that the freshness of the wines would be increased. Two sets of samples were produced at one week interval. Aside of the maturation degree of the grapes all other experimental parameters remained unchanged. When analysed with a specialized gas chromatograph working on the principle of an electronic nose, the samples produced with the neutral yeast were clearly discriminated from the other samples produced with aroma inducing yeasts, irrespective of the addition of tannin at fermentation. The other yeasts and the presence of tannins lead to a lower degree of discrimination between samples, although Discriminant Factor Analysis (DFA) was able to differentiate the samples produced with tannin from those fermented in the absence of tannin. The electronic nose is a very sensitive instrument, therefore we can assume that, at least as far as the volatile profile of the wines is concerned, whenever the electronic nose cannot make a distinction, the human nose will not be able to do it either. However, human sensory analysis may find differences between samples by using the other senses rather than the olfactive sense. This research shows, however, that the aromatic profile of Feteasca regala can be modified to a certain degree, compared to the varietal profile, by using appropriate yeasts for fermentation and that tannin also helps to protect the volatile compounds from being oxidized, thus also benefiting the final aromatic profile.

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