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Importance of 'Texture' to Red Wine Quality Acknowledged by the Development of a Red Wine "Mouth-feel Wheel".
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The importance of the in-mouth textural qualities of red wine has
of a red wine 'mouth-feel wheel'. Developed by Richard Gawel of
Recognose Pty Ltd in collaboration with
Dr Leigh Francis and Anita Oberholster of the Australian Wine
Research Institute. The wheel lists 53 terms that may be used
to describe the complex range of mouth-feel sensations elicited by
The principal developer of the wheel, Richard Gawel explains his motivation
behind undertaking the project. "Just listen to red wine consumers when
they explain why they like, or don't like, a particular red wine. Wines that
they perceive as 'soft' and 'smooth' in the mouth are frequently at the top
of their shopping lists. This convinced me of the merits of compiling an
extensive list of defined terms that could be used by wine-tasters to describe
red wine texture." The use of the 'wheel' format to present the terms was
inspired by the success of the now famous wine aroma wheel developed in
the mid 1980's by Professor Ann Noble at the University of California, Davis.
Falling into the main classes of astringency, acidity, body, texture, heat
and irritation, the terms were initially selected by considering the
mouth-feel sensations perceived during the tasting of hundreds of red
wines of varying varieties and ages from Australia, Italy and France.
After further tasting and consultation with some of Australia's most
experienced red winemakers, wine educators and red wine researchers,
the final list of terms contained in the wheel were chosen and grouped.
Chalkyness, furryness and chewyness were some of the more unusual
textures perceived in some of the wines, while the sensations of silkyness,
sappyness and dryness were others that were more frequently encountered
by the tasters.
Published by the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology in its
official journal, the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research
(Volume 6, No. 3), the wheel is
already being used by winemaking and wine marketing students
throughout Australia, and by researchers in the United States, Israel,
New Zealand, Canada and Australia. In particular, the Australian Wine Research
Institute (www.awri.com.au) is investigating the link between the occurrence
of specific tannins in red wine and the sensations listed on the wheel.
It is also hoped that the publication of the mouthfeel wheel will draw
greater attention to the fact that a red wine's 'texture' is crucial in defining
its 'pedigree' and quality; something understood and appreciated by the
makers of great burgundies and clarets, and also the better Australian
Laminated A3 sized full colour copies of the mouthfeel wheel can be obtained
from the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology (www.asvo.com.au).
Gawel, R. Oberholster, A. and Francis, I.L (2000) A 'Mouth-feel wheel': terminology
for communicating the mouth-feel characteristics of red wine. Australian Journal of
Grape and Wine Research, 6, 203-207.