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Multidimensional scaling (MDS), cluster and descriptive analyses provide preliminary insights into Australian Shiraz wine regional characteristics

Johnson, Trent E., Hasted, Anne, Ristic, Renata, Bastian, Susan E.P.
Food quality and preference 2013 v.29 no.2 pp. 174-185
cluster analysis, experts, geography, multidimensional scaling, nose, sensory evaluation, sensory properties, sorting, wines
Much has been written in the popular wine press about the various sensory properties of Australian Shiraz produced from different regions. This study had an objective of exploring whether wine experts would group Shiraz wines from the same region together, following ortho and retro nasal assessments of the wines. A cohort of wine experts and a trained descriptive analysis (DA) panel undertook sensory analysis of 29 Shiraz wines sourced from 10 delimited Australian wine producing regions, plus a multi-regional blended Australian Shiraz and a Northern Rhone Syrah. The expert panel undertook sorting tasks based on their ortho and retro nasal assessment of the wines. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) of the resultant data provided a three dimensional solution that included many attributes commonly associated with Australian Shiraz. Cluster analysis of the MDS and DA data revealed that at least two wines from Canberra, Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Great Western were grouped together. Although wines from the same region may have shared similar sensory attributes, the more diverse the region in terms of geography and meso-climate, the more difficult it was to determine those common sensory attributes. This is the first study to attempt to define the sensory attributes of a number of delimited Australian Shiraz producing regions. The data suggested that there were some sensory similarities between wines from the same region but other factors impact the sensory profile, so to determine regional Shiraz characters more extensive research using these techniques and wines made under controlled conditions would be required.