WINE kept in a dark room at home ages faster than when stored in a professional cellar, scientists have found.
Researchers placed 400 bottles of sangiovese wine either in a professional wine cellar with a strictly regulated temperature of 15-16C or in conditions mimicking a home environment. The “at home” room had a warmer temperature that seasonally varied between 20C and 26C.
Lead researcher Fulvio Mattivi, from the Fondazione Edmund Mach institute in San Michele all’Adige, Italy, said: “We discovered that a relatively small difference in the temperature speeds up several chemical reactions associated with wine ageing and even promotes new reactions that are not observed at lower temperatures.
“After six months under domestic conditions, the wine in the bottle was approximately as ‘old’ as a bottle from the same producer and lot stored for two years under cellar conditions. The house-stored wine was ageing approximately four times faster.”
When tested, wine stored in the domestic room was found to have fewer antioxidants and less red pigmentation, giving it an inferior flavour.
The research formed part of a symposium on wine at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco.
Another study confirmed that location is all-important when it comes to the taste and aroma of wine.
Malbec wines grown in Argentina were found to have more ripe fruit character and sweetness, with higher alcohol levels, than those from California. The American wines were more bitter and had more artificial fruit and citrus aromas, said symposium organiser Professor Susan Ebeler, from the University of California at Davis.
The study tested Californian and Argentinian malbecs from 41 different sites. Trained “tasters” were employed to sample the wines, which were also analysed using a process called gas chromatography.
Meanwhile, MPs have recommended Westminster should introduce health warnings on wine bottles in an effort to combat problem drinking.
Labels on alcohol products should caution about the harmful effects of drinking, the all parliamentary party group on alcohol misuse said.
Consumer information on alcohol products usually extends no further than the volume strength and unit content.
Health warnings are a prominent feature on tobacco products but consumer information provided on alcohol packaging isn’t good enough they said.
The group has called on political parties to commit to ten recommendations which they say will help to minimise alcohol-related harm in the UK, including the introduction of health warnings on alcohol products.
It said: “In order to inform consumers about balanced risk, every alcohol label should include an evidence-based health warning as well as the product’s nutritional calorific and alcohol content.”