Background: Three accelerated oxidation tests were proposed to simulate red wine oxidation thus providing information useful to correctly manage moderate oxygen exposure of wine during aging in regard to phenolic composition and wine color. Since the results of the tests have never been compared on wines with different initial composition, the aim of this study was to find a suitable method to simulate oxidation of any still red wine.
Methods: Aglianico, Barbera, Gaglioppo, Magliocco, and Nerello wines were treated with (1) three cycles of air saturation, (2) the addition of hydrogen peroxide, and (3) the addition of acetaldehyde. Changes in chromatic characteristics and phenolic composition were determined by spectrophotometric and HPLC methods.
Results: Important differences in the behavior of the different wines were detected: the highest formation of polymeric pigments was observed in Barbera and Aglianico wines. In contrast, Gaglioppo and Magliocco wines showed a lower variability before and after the oxidation probably due to the lower anthocyanin/tannin ratio. Among the accelerated oxidation tests applied, no significant differences in color parameters and phenolic composition were detected in samples treated with the addition of H2O2 and the air saturation method.
Conclusion: The study demonstrated that H2O2 addition is a successful tool to predict the evolution of different phenolic compounds during the air saturation treatment of wines.
Keywords: Aglianico; Barbera; Gaglioppo; Magliocco; Nerello; accelerated oxidation tests; phenolic compounds; pigments; wine oxidation.