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J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Oct;48(10):4830-4.

Organoleptic impact of 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine on red bordeaux and loire wines. Effect of environmental conditions on concentrations in grapes during ripening.

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Faculté d'OEnologie, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux II, 351 Cours de la Libération, 33405 Talence Cedex, France.


The 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine content in grapes and red wines was assayed by stable isotope dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, following vapor extraction and purification on a cation resin microcolumn. The threshold beyond which the green bell pepper character is marked in wines has been determined. From a comparison of the 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine concentrations of 50 red Bordeaux and Loire wines from different vintages and grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet franc, and Merlot) with the intensity of the green bell pepper character as perceived on tasting, the threshold value was estimated to be 15 ng/L. Statistical analysis of the 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine concentrations of 89 red Bordeaux wines showed that Cabernet wines were more commonly affected by this vegetative character. Changes in the 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine concentration as the grapes ripen are affected by the environmental and cultural conditions (soil, climate, training system, etc.). A very good correlation was shown between the breakdown of malic acid and 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine as the grapes ripened, irrespective of grape variety, type of soil, or weather conditions.

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