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Sensory Characterization of Young South American Red Wines Classified by Varietal and Origin



Typicality is the set of sensory characteristics that identify a distinctive type of wine. Thus, the aim of this research was to identify the sensory characteristics that contribute to define typicality of young South American red wines based on their varietal and origin, and to evaluate the effect of the vintage on this identification. To achieve this objective, visual appearance, odor, and taste of 138 wines from 2 vintages were submitted to a sensory evaluation using a descriptive analysis complemented with the frequency of citation method, performed by wine experts. The intensity of 17 odor and taste attributes was evaluated using a 5 points rating structured scale. The panel performance evaluation demonstrated its high level of expertise and reproducibility. The wines were separated into 3 clusters by multivariate analyses. Cluster 1 was primarily composed of Carménère, Malbec, and Syrah wines from Chile. Cluster 2 was predominantly composed of Tannat wines from Uruguay and Brazil, while Cluster 3 contained a higher proportion of Malbec and Merlot wines from Argentina and Brazil. Cabernet Sauvignon was equally distributed into all clusters. Wine experts were able to identify the wines according to their varietal and origin, suggesting that there is typicality in young South American red wines. The combination of descriptive analysis with the frequency of citation was useful in characterizing most of the wines, but the typicality perceived by the panelists was not achieved by multivariate analysis. Vintage did not alter the sensory characterization of the wines, and this result could be due the new viticulture or oenological practices used by the winemakers to compensate the environmental variation.

Practical Application

Although typicality has been used during the purchasing of wine, there is no evidence that this concept is real for young South American red wines. This study contributed to identify sensory characteristics associated to typicality and showed that vintage did not alter the wines classification.