Identification of a New Lactone Contributing to Overripe Orange Aroma in Bordeaux Dessert Wines via Perceptual Interaction Phenomena

Recent studies have demonstrated the existence of a typical sensory concept for Bordeaux dessert wines, including the world famous wines of Sauternes. Volatile compounds from several chemical families (thiols, aldehydes, and lactones) were identified and correlated with aromatic typicality in these wines. However, these studies were unable to indicate “key” aromas of overripe fruits, especially overripe orange. The alternative strategy developed in this research combined both analytical and sensory studies of fractions of dessert wine extracts obtained by semipreparative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Multidimensional gas chromatography coupled to olfactometry and mass spectrometry (MDGC-O/MS) was applied to some of the HPLC fractions recalling “overripe fruit”, and a new lactone, 2-nonen-4-olide, was identified. Reconstitution and omission tests using the HPLC fractions highlighted the importance of specific compounds, particularly 2-nonen-4-olide, in the expression of overripe orange notes. Although this lactone presents minty and fruity odors, its key contribution to the typical aroma of orange in Bordeaux dessert wines was revealed through perceptual blending.