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Characterization of Volatile Constituents in Commercial Oak Wood Chips

Fernandez de Simon, Brigida, Muino, Iria, Cadahia, Estrella
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2010 v.58 no.17 pp. 9587–9596
volatile compounds, Quercus pyrenaica, wood chips, chemical analysis, wood chemistry, wine aging, toasting, furfural, vanillin, eugenol
The volatile composition of the different oak wood pieces (chips of Quercus spp.) that can be found on the market to be used as alternatives to barrels for aging wines, as well as of chips of Quercus pyrenaica which are being introduced, was studied, evaluating the contents of volatile phenols, lactones, furanic compounds, pyranones, phenolic aldehydes, phenolic ketones, and others. In regard to the overall results, the volatile composition of these products varies widely and has not been clearly laid out according to either the oak species or the wood toasting intensity. Taking into account that the different characteristics of alternatives to barrel products are reflected in the wine treated with them and that an oenological profile based on these variables (origin and toasting level) cannot be defined, only an appropriate chemical analysis would reveal the quality of alternative-to-barrel products and allow us to attempt to foresee its effects on the chemical and organoleptic characteristics of the wines treated with them. On the other hand, the Q. pyrenaica alternative products are very similar to those of other species, with some aromatic particularities, such as their high levels of furanic compounds, eugenol, Furaneol, and cis-whiskylactone, and low levels of vanillin.