THE RESEARCH ON THE AROMATIC CHARACTER OF GRAPES AND SINGLE VINEYARDS IN VALPOLICELLA

The Tedeschi winery has always been first in line to promote projects aimed at supporting the territory. As such, in 2017 together with Prof. Maurizio Ugliano and in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Verona, a series of studies were carried out on the aromatic character of grapes and wines from single vineyards as well as on the principal factors involved in their expression. The studies focused primarily on Amarone from the Monte Olmi cru, La Fabriseria, and the Maternigo Estate (Anfiteatro, Bàrila e Impervio). Today, after four years of research, we present the conclusions from a long and fruitful collaboration, which will more than likely continue with further investigations into these areas of interest.

Through the study – the only one of its kind nationally or internationally – it has become possible to define a specific aromatic footprint for each location.
Most marked within the principal aromatic compositions are the terpenes, which are very evident in the plant world and include floral and balsamic scents. Terpenes are important identifiers of Valpolicella wines made from fresh grapes as well as wines in the style of the Tedeschi Amarone. Both some norisoprenoids, which intensify the perception of red fruits, and benzenoids with sweet spice aromas, contribute to the different aromatic signatures, particularly in Amarone wines. These compounds are present in the grape as precursors and are “revealed” during vinification. The content of these compounds in the grape is highly modulated by the vineyard environment. Terpenes were expected to contribute to the aromatic signature even though this study represents the first evidence of the important role they play in the aroma of Valpolicella wines. Much more surprising was the observation that even the esters that occur during fermentation, essential for the fruity character of wines, vary as a function of the geographic origin of the grapes. This finding indicates that rather than compounds within the grape itself, it is the yeast produced during fermentation that yields the compounds, an observation that illustrates how the aromatic expression of the terroir is not only linked to the grape itself, but also to the manner in which the compounds within the grape influenced the process of fermentation. During the research period, we noted how the vintage expresses itself with specific characteristics that are detectable in the wines that are ultimately produced.

These findings have paved the way for the creation of both management strategies for each vineyard and the vinification process, including methods to bring out the entirety of a grape variety’s identity and typicity. “The results from this work – underscores Riccardo Tedeschi, enologist – have heightened our awareness of our ecosystem as well as our respect for the territory and our products.”
“The data that we have obtained”, explains Professor Ugliano, “clearly indicate that it is possible to develop indices related to grape quality and wine longevity, particularly on the basis of terpene profile, which can be used going forward to map out vineyards in terms of vintage quality as well as for the optimization of practices in both the field and the winery.”
These elements of typicity all lie within the territory analyzed and serve to demonstrate how much they serve as markers that identify a style. In other words, they serve as true aromatic footprints for each of the five vineyards that were included in the study.
In the meantime, the research continues.

“Although we cannot always expect the exact same results from each and every vinification given the variability of nature, we can nevertheless count on the enhanced detection of a single element or even several aspects that will always be consistent with a type of signature associated with the winery. It is a sort of message that is translated into an identifying code that is tied to a zone and a geographic identity akin to a “guiding thread” or “fil rouge” that provides a sense of the place through the history of our winery and our wines.”

Riccardo Tedeschi

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