Okay, the title of this post is a bit ahead of the facts: scientists are still developing ways to detect the differences in wine from various regions, but they think they’re on the right track.
Malbecs from Argentina and California made by the same winemaker and using the same protocol had distinct molecular signatures and flavours.
But the delicate aroma of a rare vintage can quickly be eroded by poor storage after bottling, the team said.
Details were reported at the American Chemical Society meeting.
Despite the cynicism over wine critique — and the rather grandiose adjectives lavished upon certain appellations — it really does matter where your plonk comes from, according to the researchers from the University of California Davis.
They are attempting to fingerprint “terroir” — the unique characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place bestows upon a wine.
Subjective regional character is based on the appearance, aroma, taste and mouthfeel (texture) of the wine — all of which combine to create its flavour.
But demand is growing for a more objective test — to help consumers bypass woolly terminology, protect artisan producers’ intellectual property, and help auction houses detect fraud — a growing problem.