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Anthocyanins found in White Wine Grapes too

Posted: Tuesday, 06 Jan 2015 11:07

Anthocyanins found in White Wine Grapes too

Jan 06: Anthocyanins found in the skins of red grapes and combined with other chemical compounds, are responsible for the majority of red wine’s colour with the precise colour dependent on the acidity surrounding anthocyanins but a new study has discovered that they are also found in much smaller quantity in white grapes, thus explaining the pinkish colour of some of the white wines

Anthocyanins are defined by Jancis Robinson MW in ‘The Oxford Companion to Wine’ as members of a complex group of natural phenolic glycosides responsible for the colour of black and red grapes. They are also responsible for the colour of red wines. But the definition may be modified soon as scientists using mass spectrometry to analyze Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling white grapes have discovered that they in fact contained anthocyanins.

Explaining the phenomenon, Panagiotis Arapitsas of Edmund Mach Foundation in Italy told New Scientist that white grapes contain the same pigments that give red wine its colour, suggesting that white wine may not really exist in the strictest sense. The presence of the pigments, called anthocyanins could explain why producers of white wine using white grapes are sometimes surprised to see a pinkish tinge in bottles. The concentrations of anthocyanins found in white grapes are however several thousand times smaller than in red grape varieties such as Merlot, according to the study, published in Food Research International.

He explains that red wine is a complex mixture of between 800 and 1,000 chemical compounds. Tannins and phenolics make up just 0.1 per cent of bottles of red wine, but have the maximum impact on its colour and flavour. As wines age, molecules of anthocyanins can undergo a wide variety of reactions to form larger complexes, which can also contribute to the red coloration of the wine. As a result, although the concentration of anthocyanins in a bottle of wine will constantly decrease, the red colour will still remain.

Small molecules joined together to make a long chain and known as tannins, dictate a wine's dryness and bitterness on the palate , reacting with the proteins of a drinker's saliva to create the sensation of dryness. They can also contribute to the colour by combining with the anthocyanins.

Interestingly the study also points out that the concentration of all pigments was highly influenced by the climatic changes.

Women and White Wine

Meanwhile, if you are a woman reader and feel that white wine makes you upset and leaves you with a feeling of depression, it could be due to its ingredients as the white wine contains more sulphites than the red wine. Sulphites have been linked with drinking blues and depression as well as several ailments from allergies to headaches, according to the Daily Mail though many may refute them being the cause of headaches.

While sulphites are naturally found in grapes, small amount of Sulphur is added prior to fermentation. This acts as a preservative and keeps the freshness and removes unwanted yeasts and bacteria. You may find it worth your while in such cases to stick to organic or biodynamic wines, according to experts.

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