As the old saying goes, ‘(it/he/she/they) aged like fine wine’. This is because, barring certain factors, a fine wine only improves with age. One such factor is the imbalance in the substances that give wine their flavour and aroma.
Aussie scientists have found ways to use smallMand across the world in order to separate the offending particles from the wine itself, removing the ‘off’ taste and retaining the natural flavour of the wine. Substances like Alkylmethoxypyrazines, also known as MPs, are responsible for the vegetable-like aromas and flavours in certain wines, like cabernet sauvignon.
The research team, from the University of Adelaide, conducted their study by attaching magnetic nanoparticles to polymers, which they added to the wine so they could isolate the MPs for easy removal. Currently, the procedure only works on cabernet sauvignon, but they are looking for ways to get them to work on all kinds of wine.
Previously, similar attempts have been made, using additives like activated charcoal to deal with the issue. The polymers, on the other hand, have been proven to be better with dealing with such issues. The researchers tested the new polymers in cabernet sauvignon via using them on samples with a considerable amount of MPs, which gave it a strong scent, akin to that of a green bell pepper.
In order to verify the results, they tested the wine after the procedure, utilizing gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to check MP levels, both with polymers and polyactic acid film, and found that the latter was more effective. They also had taste testers on site to check if the procedure worked without negatively impacting the wine; that the samples still had their distinct aroma and flavour following the removal offending particles.
According to the paper, chemical and sensory analyses of the wines revealed that the putative imprinted polymer (PIMP) treatments, the new method, gave better results compared to polylactic acid (PLA) film for reducing ‘fresh green’ aroma nuances.
MPs are, in fact, naturally occurring in wines. The problem comes when they’re found in excessive amounts, as they can overwrite the fruity or floral taste and aroma that many expects from fine wine.