Sweet wines made from botrytized grapes contain much higher concentrations of volatile thiols, especially 3-sulfanylhexan-1-ol (3SH), than dry white wines. Three new specific volatile thiols (3-sulfanylpentan-1-ol (3SP), 3-sulfanylheptan-1-ol (3SHp), and 2-methyl-3-sulfanylbutan-1-ol (2M3SB) were recently identified in Sauternes wines. Like most volatile thiols, these compounds were almost totally absent from must, mainly being formed during alcoholic fermentation. In this work, we describe the identification and quantification of three new cysteine-S-conjugate precursors in must made from Botrytis-infected grapes. S-3-(pentan-1-ol)-L-cysteine (P-3SP), S-3-(heptan-1-ol)-L-cysteine (P-3SHp), and S-3-(2-methylbutan-1-ol)-L-cysteine (P-2M3SB) were identified by direct GC-MS analysis of their derivative forms obtained by silylation of an enriched fraction, isolated from must by affinity chromatography. Concentrations were considerably higher when Botrytis cinerea had developed on the grapes. In botrytized must, the mean levels of P-3SP, P-3SHp, and P-2M3SB were in the vicinity of 700, 50, and 500 nM, respectively, whereas concentrations in healthy must ranged from 0 to 50 nM. This indicated that these three new sulfanyl alcohols, responsible for the characteristic aroma of botrytized wines, were formed by the yeast metabolism during alcoholic fermentation from the corresponding non-volatile cysteine-S-conjugate precursors. Moreover, these results highlighted the predominant role of botrytization in developing grape aroma potential.CI - Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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