The influence of base wine composition and wood maturation on the quality of South African brandy

Snyman, Caroline Lucie Charlotte (2004-03)

Dissertation (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Brandy production is a multi-step process that involves grape harvesting, base wine fermentation, distillation, wood maturation and blending. Within each of these production process steps there are a number of factors that can influence the composition and resultant quality of the base wine, unaged and wood matured distillates. These factors include geographic and climatic features of the origin of grapes used, viticultural practices, grape maturity, grape variety, vintage variation, vinification techniques, storage of the base wine prior to distillation, distillation technique, age and origin of oak wood used for maturation and barrel toasting levels. The composition of flavour is extremely complex in wine and distilled beverages such as brandy. A multitude of compounds can take part in the formation of flavour, and it is rare that a particular compound, that is solely responsible for nuances of a specific flavour, is identified. Thus, taking brandy production factors and the nature of aroma and flavour into account, it is clear that thorough understanding of the complexities affecting the perception of quality in brandy is difficult. In commercial brandy production, standard operating procedures do not allow for the separate distillation of brandy base wines from different producers and mixing of base wines from different regions and producers thus occurs. This makes it difficult to determine whether the quality determination of the base wine is in fact an indication of the quality of the resultant distillate after the required period of wood maturation. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine whether there is any merit in storing and distilling brandy base wines from different producers and regions separately. This was done by firstly determining the demographic and production factors that influence brandy base wine composition. Secondly, the influence of brandy base wine composition on the quality of the respective unaged potstill distillates as well as the ultimate style and quality of the threeyear old wood matured potstill distillates was determined. For this purpose, four potstills with a capacity of 2000 L each were isolated and used for commercial scale distillations of 33 and 25 brandy base wines in 1999 and 2000, respectively, at the DisteIl distillery in Worcester. The experimental outlay used in the study closely emulated Distell's standard operating procedures for commercial brandy production. Chenin blanc and Colombar are the two most popular grape varietals used in the making of brandy base wine in South Africa. Due to the complexity of the brandy production process, the first part of the study only focussed on South African young Chenin blanc wines, with a predominantly fermentation derived aroma. The concentration of iso-amyl acetate, hexyl acetate, ethyl caprylate, ethyl caprate, 2-phenethyl acetate and octanoic acid was significantly higher in wines awarded gold and silver medals and decreased significantly with subsequent decreases in quality categories. Ethyl lactate exhibited the opposite pattern. A quality predictor model based on the behaviour of 21 volatile compounds quantified in these wines had a resonable prediction accuracy when having to predict the quality of wines made in the same vintages as it had been trained on. It was significantly poorer when tested on a completely different vintage of wines to the ones it had been trained on. The number of vintages, number of wines per vintage and the number of compounds quantified for the model influence its prediction accuracy. Twenty-seven volatile compounds were quantified in 33 and 25 brandy base wines, their unaged and three year old distillates from 1999 and 2000, respectively. ANOVA and CART analysis showed that vintage, region, harvest time, choice of cultivar and yeast strain can have a significant influence on the volatile compound composition of brandy base wines, their unaged and three year old distillates. These factors as well as the volatile compound composition were also found to influence the sensory quality of these products. Base wines, unaged and three year old distillates originating from the De Dooms region, which predominantly cultivates table grapes, were of significantly lower quality than those from the remaining regions. Products made from grapes harvested early in the season were of significantly higher quality. The volatile aroma compound composition was found to differ significantly between the 1999 and 2000 base wines and distillates, irrespective of the exclusion of those samples that had undergone partial or complete malolactic fermentation. Consequently, quality indicating compounds may vary from vintage to vintage. The relationship between the quality of brandy base wines and the concentration of n-butanol, iso-amyl acetate, ethyl lactate, ethyl caprylate, octanoic- and decanoic acid was the same as that reported in young Chen in blanc wines in this study. In unaged distillates, increased levels of ethyl lactate also exert a negative influence on distillate quality. Iso-amyl acetate, hexyl acetate, ethyl caproate, ethyl caprylate, n-butanol, octanoic acid, ethyl caprate and decanoic acid showed some positive correlation, whilst iso-butanol, ethyl lactate, acetic acid, acetaldehyde and ethyl acetate showed a significant negative correlation to three-year old distillate quality. Sensory descriptive analysis on selected good, average and poor quality distillates using the South African brandy aroma wheel showed that there are small differences in profile between the good and average distillates, there were however significant differences between the good and poor quality distillate profiles throughout maturation. After three years of wood maturation, the aroma profile of poor quality distillates can be characterised by prominent herbaceous and woody aromas, which are more intense than the fruity aromas. Good quality distillates contained characteristically intense fruity aromas. Volatile compound concentration differences were noted during the course of and after three years of wood maturation and in barrels of varying ages. Distillates matured in new block barrels exhibited significant differences in volatile and wood compound composition after three years when compared to remaining barrels used. The style classification of the three-year old potstill distillate was influenced by demographic and production factors and volatile compound composition, but not by the sensory quality of the distillates. In summary, vintage, region, cultivar, harvest time and choice of yeast strain have a significant influence on the volatile composition of brandy base wines, their unaged and three year old potstill distillates, which in turn affects the sensory quality of these products. These effects cannot be viewed in isolation as they jointly exert an influence on the composition and quality of these products. From a commercial perspective, this study has provided a valuable indication as to which production and demographic factors can influence the quality and style of potstill brandy. Thus, future brandy base wine intake should, as far as possible, take place in such a manner to allow base wines originating from the same cultivar or region or harvest time or combination thereof (and to a lesser extent yeast strain) to be received simultaneously at the distillery for distillation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Brandewyn produksie is 'n veelvoudige proses wat die volgende insluit: pars van druiwe, basiswyn fermentasie, verstoking, houtveroudering en versnyding. Binne hierdie stappe is verskeie faktore wat 'n invloed op die samestelling en resultate van die basiswyn, onverouderde en verouderde distillaat kan hê. Hierdie faktore sluit die volgende in: geografiese ligging, klimaat toestande van die streek van herkoms, wingerdboupraktyke, graad van rypheid, druifvarieteit, wynoes variasie, wynbou tegnieke, opberging van basiswyn voor distillasie, distillasie tegnieke, ouderdom en oorsprong van akkerhout vir die veroudering, asook tot watter mate die vat gerooster is. Die samestelling van geur in wyn en gedistilleerde produkte soos brandewyn is uiters kompleks. 'n Menigte samestellings kan deel vorm van die inhoud van die geur, en dit is raar dat 'n bepaalde verbinding alleenlik verantwoordelik is vir 'n kenmerkende geur. Weens die verskeidenheid van produksie faktore, aroma en smaak is volledige kennis van brandewyn ingewikkeld en kompliseerd om te verstaan. In kommersiële brandewynproduksie, maak standaard werksprosedures nie voorsiening vir aparte distillasie van basiswyn van verskillende produsente nie, en die vermenging van basiswyn van verskillende streke en produsente kom voor. Dit maak dit moeilik om te bepaal of die kwaliteit van die basiswyn of die distillaat na die neergelegde periode van houtveroudering, in werklikheid 'n beslissende indikasie op die kwaliteit van die verouderde produk is. Daarom is een van die doele van hierdie studie om te bepaal of daar meriete in is om brandewyn basiswyn van die verskillende produsente en streke apart te berg en te verstook. Dit is gedoen deur eerstens, die effek van demografiese en produksie faktore op die samestelling van brandewyn basiswyn te bepaal. Daarna, om die invloed van brandewyn basiswynsamestelling op die kwaliteit van onderskeidelik die onverouderde distillate sowel as die uiteindelike styl en kwaliteit van die 3 jaar oue houtverouderde potketel distillate, te bepaal. Vir hierdie doel, is vier potketels met 'n kapasiteit van 2000 liters elk geïsoleer en vir kommersiële skaal distillasies van 33 en 25 brandewyn basiswyne in 1999 en 2000, ondeskeidelik, by DisteIl Distillerdery, Worcester verstook. Die eksperimentele uitleg wat in hierdie studie gebruik is, ewenaar DisteIl se standaard verstokingsprosedures vir kommersiële brandewynproduksie. Chenin blanc en Colombar is die twee mees populêre druifvarieteite vir die maak van brandewyn basiswyn in Suid-Afrika. As gevolg van die kompleksiteit van die brandewyn produksieproses, is die eerste gedeelte van die studie gefokus op die Suid-Afrikaanse jong Chenin blanc wyne, met 'n oorheersende fermentasie geur. Die konsentrasie van iso-amyl asetaat, heksiel asetaat, etiel kaprilaat, etiel kapraat, 2-phenetiel asetaat en oktanoë suur was aansienlik hoër in wyne wat met goud en silwer medaljes bekroon is en neem aansienlik af met afname in kwaliteit kategorieë. Etiel laktaat vertoon die teenoorgestelde patroon. 'n Kwaliteit voorspellersmodel, gebaseer op die gedrag van 21 vlugtige komponente was opgestel. Die model het redelike akkuraatheid getoon op wyne van dieselfde oesjaar as waarop oorspronklik opgelei. Die model se voorspellingsakkuraatheid was aansienlik swakker toe dit vergelyk getoets is met wyne van 'n nuwe oesjaar. Die hoeveelheid oesjare, hoeveelheid wyne per oesjaar en die hoeveelheid verbindings gebruik in hierdie model sal die voorspellingsakkuraatheid beïnvloed. Sewe-en-twintig vlugtige komponente was gekwantifiseer in 33 en 25 brandewyn basiswyne, die onverouderde en 3 jaar oue distillate vanaf 1999 en 2000, onderskeidelik. Variasie ontledings (ANOVA) en klassifikasie en regressie ontledings (CART) ontledings wys dat oesjaar, streek, parstyd, keuse van kultivar en gisrasse In aansienlike invloed op die vlugtige samestelling van brandewyn basiswyne asook hul onverouderde en 3 jaar distillate het. Hierdie faktore, sowel as die vlugtige verbinding samestellings, beinvloed ook bevind die sensoriese kwaliteit van hierdie produkte. Basiswyne, onverouderde en 3 jaar oue distillate wat vanuit die De Doorns streek, wat hoofsaaklik tafeldruif kultivars is, is van In swakker kwaliteit as die ander streke. Produkte wat gemaak is van druiwe wat vroeg in die seisoen gepars is, was van beter kwaliteit. Die vlugtige geurkomponentsamestellings het tussen die basiswyne en distillate van die 1999 en 2000 oesjare verskil, ongeag of party van die monsters gedeeltelike of volledige appelmelksuurgisting ondergaan het. Gevolglik, die konsentrasie van kwaliteitaanwysende komponente mag van seisoen tot seisoen verskil. Die verhouding tussen die kwaliteit van die brandewyn basiswyne en die konsentrasie van n-butanol, iso-amiel asetaat, etiel laktaat, etiel kaprilaat, oktanoë- en dekanoë suur was dieselfde soos gerapporteer oor die jong Chenin blanc wyne. In onverouderde distillate, het verhoogde vlakke van etiel laktaat In negatiewe invloed op distillaat kwaliteit veroorsaak. Iso-amiel asetaat, heksiel asetaat, etiel kaproaat, etiel kaprilaat, n-butanol, oktanoë suur, etiel kapraat en dekanoë suur In positiewe korrelasie, terwyl iso-butanol, etiel laktaat, asynsuur, asetaldehied en etiel asetaat betekenisvolle negatiewe korrelasie met 3jaar oue distillaat kwaliteit bewys. Beskrywende sensoriewe analises op geselekteerde, middelmatige en swak kwaliteit distillate (gedoen deur gebruik making van die Suid-Afrikaanse Brandewyn Aromawiel) wys dat daar klein verskille tussen die profiele van goeie en middelmatige distillate is. Daar is egter aansienlike verskille tussen goeie en swak kwaliteit distillataat profiele regdeur die drie jaar verouderingsperiode. Na 3 jaar van houtveroudering kan die geur profiel van swak kwaliteit distillate uitgeken word aan kruid- en houtagtige geure, wat meer intens as die vrugagtige geure is. Goeie kwaliteit distillate het intense vrugagtige-aroma eienskappe. Vlugtige verbinding konsentrasie verskille is waargeneem gedurende en na die 3jaar houtverouderingsperiode in vate wat van ouderdomme verskil. Distillate wat in nuwe blokkies vate verouder is, vertoon aansienlike verskille in vlugtige en houtkomponent samestellings na 3 jaar wanneer dit met die, wat in die oorblywende ouer vate verouder is, vergelyk word. Die styl klassifikasie van die 3 jaar oue potketeldistillaat was deur demografiese en produksie faktore sowel as vlugtige verbinding samestellings beïnvloed, maar nie met die sensoriese kwaliteit van die distillate nie. In opsomming, oesjaar, streek, kultivar, parstyd en keuse van gisrasse het 'n aansienlike invloed op die vlugtige komponent samestelling van die brandewyn basiswyne, onverouderde en 3 jaar oue potketel distillate, wat weer op hul beurt die sensoriese kwaliteit van die onderskeidelike produkte beïnvloed. Die effek van hierdie faktore kan nie in isolasie gemeet word nie, aangesien dit gesamentlik die kwaliteit van die produkte beïnvloed. Van 'n kommersiële perspektief het hierdie studie 'n waardevolle indikasie gelewer van hoe produksie en demografiese faktore die kwaliteit en styl van potketelbrandewyn kan beïnvloed. Daarom word voorgestel dat toekomstige brandewyn basiswyn innames, sover as moontlik, voorsiening moet maak om wyne van dieselfde kultivar, uit dieselfde streek, parsseisoen inaggeneem, of kombinasie daarvan, met 'n mindermate die gisrasse in aanmerking geneem, gelyktydig vir verstoking by die distilleerderye ontvang word sodat hierdie wyne apart van wyne met ander bogenoemde variasies verstook en verouder kan word.

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