A series of five Vitis vinifera L. cv Cabernet Sauvignon wines were produced from sequentially-harvested grape parcels, with alcohol concentrations between 12% v/v and 15.5% v/v. A multidisciplinary approach, combining sensory analysis, consumer testing and detailed chemical analysis was used to better define the relationship between grape maturity, wine composition and sensory quality. The sensory attribute ratings for dark fruit, hotness and viscosity increased in wines produced from riper grapes, while the ratings for the attributes red fruit and fresh green decreased. Consumer testing of the wines revealed that the lowest-alcohol wines (12% v/v) were the least preferred and wines with ethanol concentration between 13% v/v and 15.5% v/v were equally liked by consumers. Partial least squares regression identified that many sensory attributes were strongly associated with the compositional data, providing evidence of wine chemical components which are important to wine sensory properties and consumer preferences, and which change as the grapes used for winemaking ripen.
Keywords: Aroma; Astringency; Bitterness; Cabernet Sauvignon wine; Colour; Consumer hedonic test; Dark fruit; Ethanol; Fruit; Fruit maturity; Green; PLS regression; Red fruit; Sensory descriptive analysis; Vegetative; Volatiles.
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