BACKGROUND: It is widely accepted that red wines constitute one of the most important sources of dietary polyphenolic antioxidants. However, it is still not known how some variables such as variety, vintage, country of origin, and retail price are associated with the antioxidant activity and sensory profile of South American red wines. In this regard, 80 samples produced in Brazil, Chile and Argentina were assessed in relation to their sensory properties, color and in vitro antioxidant activity, and results were subjected to multivariate statistical techniques.
RESULTS: Samples were grouped in clusters, characterized by high, intermediate and low in vitro antioxidant activity, sensory properties and prices. It was possible to observe that wines with high antioxidant activity were associated to high retail prices and overall perception of sensory quality.
CONCLUSION: South American wines produced from Vitis vinifera such as Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon had higher in vitro antioxidant activity and also higher sensory quality than wines produced from Vitis labrusca. This result was independent of vintage (2002-2010), corroborating the idea that the same grape varietal, even when produced in different years, displays similar sensory characteristics and antioxidant activity. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry