To identify if flavour precursors play an important role in wine flavour and to determine what the sensory significance is of flavour release from these precursors in mouth and under what conditions it occurs.
Previous work on smoke taint in wines, and sulfur compounds in grapes and vegetables by Swiss researchers, has raised the tantalising possibility that enhanced flavour can be perceived retronasally through in-mouth release of flavour from precursors. Release in mouth could also contribute to flavour persistence. This release is mediated by mouth bacteria and is likely variable depending on individual food consumption patterns.
The plan begins with a proof of concept study, to confirm that significant flavour is released in mouth from glycoconjugates. Presuming this is demonstrated the plan then follows an established pathway for discovery, identification and characterisation of the precursors and the release of volatiles under wine-in-mouth relevant conditions.
The knowledge generated by this project will provide insight into the consumer experience when drinking a wine, including the intensity of flavour and persistence of aftertaste. It will also allow researchers to identify new analytical targets for quality markers for grapes and wine. Objective measure of grape and wine quality would allow grape growers and winemakers to tailor wine style through measuring and monitoring throughout the grapegrowing and winemaking process.