Objectives: Assess the suitability of indigenous Cypriot grape varieties for Australian climate and consumers.
1. Generate sensory and chemical profiles of commercial Cypriot wines made from indigenous grapes; Xynisteri (white), Maratheftiko (red) and Giannoudhi (red).
2. Assess the Australian consumers’ response to these wines.
1. Sensory profiling of the wines to guide chemical analysis of flavour compounds.
2. Chemical analysis of aroma and phenolic compounds.
3. Consumer trials of commercial Cypriot wines.
1. Detailed sensory and chemical analysis of the three varieties determined.
2. Consumers reported that Cypriot wines are comparable to common Australian wines made from traditional grape varieties.
The purpose of this paper was to assess the suitability of indigenous Cypriot grape varieties for an Australian climate and consumers and present initial work at the GiESCO conference in Greece June 2019.
The varieties of interest were:
Xynisteri the main white wine variety of Cyprus. It is very drought tolerant and high yielding, with large loose bunches with medium sized, thick skinned berries. It has reported wine aromas of fruit and nuts and flavours of lemon, white peach, and white nectarine.
Marathefriko is a red variety with medium size bunches, with medium sized berries, can be susceptible to poor fruit set with inadequate vineyard management. Considered to be the best red Cypriot variety it has soft tannins and characteristic aromas of violets, cherry and dark chocolate.
Giannoudhi is a red variety similar to Maratheftiko, it is less common and has less intense flavours and colours.
The results of the sensory analysis identified the following sensory characteristics:
Xynisteri wines were described stone fruit, dried fruit, citrus, herbaceous, grassy, apple/pear, confectionary, vanilla, creamy, buttery, wood, and toasty.
Maratheftiko wines were described as woody, dried fruit, chocolate, herbaceous, confectionary, jammy, sweet and full bodied.
Giannoudhi wine was described as woody, dried fruit, chocolate and full bodied.
Chemical analysis: identified 15 phenolic compounds in the white wine samples and 17 in the red wine samples. 21 volatile/aroma compounds in the white wine samples and 26 in the red wine samples.
Chemical compounds were then correlated with the sensory data from the consumer hedonic responses to determine consumer liking drivers for the wines.
Three clusters of consumers were identified for the white and red wines. The overall consumer means for liking indicated that Cypriot wines were liked similarly to Australian Shiraz, Pinot Gris and unwooded Chardonnay wines.
This was the first detailed sensory, chemical and consumer study of wines made from Xynisteri, Maratheftiko and Giannoudhi.
Cypriot varieties are comparable to common Australian and European wines made from traditional grape varieties.
Future studies could include further chemical analysis to target aroma compounds, phenols, thiols and terpenes with repeated measures.
Additional sensory analysis could also be performed utilising wines made from different locations with standardised wine making techniques to eliminate any wine making influence on the sensory analysis.
This is the first stage of the project in assessing the suitability of indigenous Cypriot grape varieties for Australian climate and consumers. Following the presentation of the paper at the conference, I received positive feedback from peers in attendance. Attending the conference assisted with meeting other researchers from the region including Greece and Turkey. They offered input and advice to the project and highlighted other possibilities for future research. The opportunity to meet like-minded researchers from all over the world with similar interests in sustainable viticulture was beneficial to the project.
The conference also offered opportunities to visit different wine growing regions of Northern Greece, which gave further insight into how these indigenous Mediterranean varieties are managed in their homelands. The wines made from these varieties are very much on par with other popular varieties and provided further incentive to explore lesser known varieties for Australian wine region homoclimes. For example, the south eastern Mediterranean island of Crete has a very similar climate to Cyprus and southern Australia, with seven indigenous white and four red varieties commonly cultivated for wine production.
The conference convenor was the project external supervisor Professor Stefanos Koundouras and although he was busy with running the conference, we were able to discuss the project after the proceedings and he assisted in the planning of experiments that followed the conference.
The next stage of the project has involved irrigation trials in the field and in partially controlled environments comparing Xynisteri and Maratheftiko to French varieties. These investigations will be complete by 2021 and will give further insight into the suitability of Cypriot varieties in Australia.