Sensory attributes of Cabernet Sauvignon wines made from vines with different water status


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The dependence of wine sensory properties on vine water status in Vitis vinifera L., cv. Cabernet Sauvignon was tested. Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the Napa Valley were subjected to three drip irrigation treatments: minimal irrigation (no irrigation added unless the midday leaf water potential dropped below –1.6 MPa), standard irrigation (32 L water/vine/week), and double irrigation (64 L water/vine/week). The minimal irrigation treatment produced midday leaf water potentials that were significantly lower than the other treatments throughout the season. Mean grape yields varied from 15.0 to 21.7 t/ha. Descriptive analysis conducted on the resulting wines demonstrated significant differences in several sensory attributes as per analysis of variance of the ratings. Analysis of variance and principal component analysis showed that the wines made from the minimal irrigation treatment were significantly higher in red/blackberry aroma, jam/cooked berry aroma, dried fruit/raisin aroma, and fruit by mouth than the wines from the irrigated treatments. The standard irrigation treatment wines were rated significantly higher than the minimal irrigation treatment wines in vegetal aroma, bell pepper aroma, black pepper aroma, and astringency. We conclude that vine water deficits lead to wines with more fruity and less vegetal aromas and flavours than vines with high vine water status.