Thanks to Tedeschi’s Amarone the molecules responsible for the taste of wine have been identified
Thanks to a research carried out on Amarone Tedeschi the molecules responsible for the sensations of acidity, sweetness, bitterness and astringency in wine have now been identified
Amarone is a powerful complex wine, yet at the same time it is pleasing and round, enough to be appreciated by less experience palates. This makes Amarone della Valpolicella a successful wine which is recognized and appreciated internationally.
Thanks to these qualities that make it such a pleasing wine, the Amarone of the Tedeschi estate was selected to be used in a research led by Prof. Thomas Hofmann and his team, food chemist and molecular sensory scientist at TUM (Technical University) of Munich, awarded recently, in 2013 the title: Fellow Award of The Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division (AGFD) of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Tedeschi wines distinguish themselves for their style and quality, renewing a continual success, such as that issued on the authoritative American website Snooth, which publishes daily advice, as well as tasting notes and articles. In the listing citing the 14 top Valpolicellas tasted, there 4 Tedeschi wines featured including Maternigo Valpolicella Superiore 2011, first in category with 92 points. Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2011 came fourth in category scoring 91 points. The category cited both Capitel Nicalò Valpolicella Superiore and Lucchine Valpolicella Classico.
A remarkable success thanks to the efforts managed by the estate in identifying and successfully interpreting the different nuances of the terroir of Valpolicella, which is best known for the production of Amarone.
Amarone is a wine that presents a varied analytical framework including the different interpretations and styles shown by the individual producers of Valpolicella thanks to varied choices made when it comes to production: area of production, selection of grapes, methods and length of appassimento, as well as fermentation methods and wood ageing.
Above all it is possible to perceive that sensations observed during tasting come from different types of sensorial stimulation (visual, smell, taste, to which one should add stimulation of tactile receptors and thermal receptors of the oral cavity), from this starting point Prof. Thomas Hofmann chose to undertake a process of analysis and definition of taste.
Hofmann’s aim was to catalogue, quantify and measure the sensorial activity of the metabolites present in wine responsible for the sensations of acidity,
sweetness, bitterness and astringency, hence a research not dedicated to an olfactory analysis but to the analysis of taste (the object of many studies carried out over the past 30 years).
Hofmann and his team based their research on analytical methods and on a panel of volunteers who had been trained over a period of two years to identify the sensorial attributes of “acidity”, “atringency”, “sweet” and “salty”. It is a known fact that these same sensations, produced from different substances can have a completely different tactlie effect. Just to give an example this is why we often talk about silky or velvety wine rather than rough wine.
In 2008 the Researchers started an in-depth study by using liquid chromatography to divide the Tedeschi estate Amarone into molecular fractions.
They continued the reasearch by using mass spectrometry to identify the specific compounds in each fraction and finally “redesigned” the wine. To make this drink synthetic, they selected around eighty molecules that were then added to water in the same level of concentration which is normally found in Amarone. Working with trained tasters, Hofmann and his team removed some compounds, one at a time until they come to identify the 35 molecules (“orosensory” ) sufficient to simulate the taste and feel of a real Amarone. It is also possible that those responsible for the taste sensations of pleasure are represented by minor substances in terms of quantity.
Through this research Hofmann built a model based on Amarone, which was then repeated on other quality wines and is still the only valid model to define the taste of a wine.
What makes a wine unique and recognizable are the differences in concentration of these key compounds. “This is also the reason why,”claims Hofmann, “Wines of the same company but of different vintages can have a similar taste profile, but not identical. In the vineyard, slight changes in the concentration of molecules are induced in the grapes by changes in temperature, humidity and other factors. “
The research was presented last August during the “American Chemical Society National Meeting” in San Francisco and Prof. Hofmann, in his presentation entitled “Molecular targets determining the taste of wine,” greatly impressed those present.
Professor Hofmann confirmed his intention to continue the research using different styles of Tedeschi wines, as well as comparing different vintages.
This can be seen as yet a further testimonial of commitment that has always been the Tedeschi family’s approach towards a modern quality of wine production; a commitment that, was preceeded by the zonation and characterization studies carried out in the Maternigo estate and in the vineyards located in the Classic area, a process that will enable the company to obtain ISO 14001 certification.
Through this new project the company engages in a virtuous path, voluntarily imposing constraints in the management of those aspects that do not a priori, but after careful analysis, be found to have a significant impact on the environment, with the objective of respecting the resources while producing a high quality product.
Tedeschi, one of the historic wineries in Valpolicella produces powerful, elegant wines, showing great personality and local character. The attention to tradition, the focus on innovation and the knowledge of the area are the elements that define its identity.
To make great wines such as Amarone, it takes patience and dedication, which for the Tedeschi family also means dedicating a lot of time to each detail adopting a policy of ‘care’ in what they do.
These values translate into a style, a Tedeschi style, true to its territory and to its native vines, able to understand to the best of their ability each harvest so that the trend of the season becomes an integral part of the wine.
A style born in the early 60s, when Lorenzo Tedeschi had the inspired idea of producing a wine made separately from the grapes of the Monte Olmi vineyard giving rise to one of the first crus of Valpolicella and a wine that has become the standard-bearer of the company.