Dietary fats interact with grape tannins to influence the taste of wine

Dietary fats interact with grape tannins to influence the taste of wine

Wine lovers recognize that a perfectly matched wine can make a delicious meal even better, but the reverse is also true: certain foods can influence the flavors of wines. Now, researchers reporting in the ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have explored how lipids – fat molecules abundant in cheese, meats, vegetable oils, and other foods – interact with grape tannins, masking unwanted flavors of wine compounds.

Tannins are polyphenolic compounds responsible for the bitterness and astringency of red wines. Wine testers have noticed that certain foods reduce these sensations, improving the flavor of a wine, but scientists aren’t sure why. Some studies have indicated that tannins interact with lipids at the molecular level. In foods, lipids are found as fat globules dispersed in liquids or solids. Julie Géan and her colleagues wanted to study how tannins influence the size and stability of lipid droplets in an emulsion. They also wondered how previous consumption of vegetable oils would impact the taste of tannins for human volunteers.

The researchers made an oil-in-water emulsion using olive oil, water, and a phospholipid emulsifier. Then they …

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