Wine lovers know that perfectly paired wines can make a delicious meal taste better, but the opposite is also true: Certain foods can affect the flavors of the wine. Now, ACS researchers write ‘ Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry Find out how fats – fatty molecules abundant in cheese, meats, vegetable oils, and other foods – interact with tannins, masking the unwanted flavors of the wine’s compounds.
Tannins are polyphenolic compounds that are responsible for the bitterness and malleability of red wine. Wine testers have noted that some foods reduce these sensations and improve the flavor of wine, but scientists aren’t sure why. Some studies indicated that tannins interact with fats at the molecular level. In foods, fats are found as fat globules dispersed in liquids or solids. Julie Jian and her colleagues wanted to investigate how tannins affect the size and stability of the lipid droplets in the emulsion. They also wondered how the pre-consumption of vegetable oils would affect the taste of the tannins of the human volunteers.
The researchers created an oil-in-water emulsion using olive oil, water, and a phospholipid emulsion. Then they added grape tannin, called catechin, and studied the lipids in the emulsion with different biophysical techniques. The team found that tannin introduced into the emulsion layer surrounding the oil droplets caused larger droplets to form. In taste tests, volunteers indicated that consuming a spoonful of rapeseed, grape seed, or olive oil before tasting the tannin solution reduces the susceptibility of the compounds. Olive oil had the biggest effect, causing tannins to be viewed as fruity rather than astringent. By combining the biophysical and sensory findings, the researchers concluded that tannins could interact with the oil droplets in the mouth, making them less available for attaching to saliva proteins and causing an astringent.
The authors acknowledge funding from Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux.
A summary of the paper will be available on March 3 at 8 a.m. ET here: http://pubs.
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