The ameliorating effect of sugar on acid perception was studied in a model system, a white wine, and a red wine. The range of acidity (0.47-1.20%) used was typical of that found in wines made from V. vinifera grapes; range of sugar content was 0-20%. Of the 35-40 tasters used on the model system, 20 were selected to continue the study in wine. A forced-choice paired-comparison random design was used throughout the study.
Added sugar reduced the apparent acid taste in both the model system and the wines. A mean value of percent sugar needed to cause a 50% correct response level was determined for several concentrations of acid. A linear relationship (P<0.01) was found between the mean value of sugar and the difference in the acid level used for its determination as compared with the acid level in the control.
Although research has indicated a masking interaction between sugar and acid, such work has been concerned with threshhold or low levels (below 0.3g/100 ml) of acid rather than within the range normally found in acid foods. Also, only trends were observed rather than quantitative measures made of the masking effect. Pangborn (8,9), in studying the effects of suprathreshold amounts of sugars and organic acids, found a relation between decreasing apparent sweetness or acidity and increasing additions of acid or sugar at high levels of the added substance. Berg et al. (3) found a similar effect in testing the interaction of sugar and acid in an aqueous solution. Hinreiner et al. continued the work on sugar-acid interrelationships in aqueous solutions (4) and also in a white wine (5). Their data indicated adding sucrose had little effect on acid perception in wine. Pangborn et al. (10) made a similar observation with white wine.
The climate in the grape-growing areas of the state of Washington develops a tart fruit which yields wines of high acidity. Kliewer and Lider (6) have shown that where V. vinifera grapes ripen at colder temperatures the acid content is frequently higher than is desirable. This is true with the wines produced from grapes grown in the Columbia Basin near Prosser. Since, as Amerine and Ough (1) have shown, consumer taste panels prefer a sweet wine to a dry wine, it was thought added sucrose could increase the acceptability of high-acid Washington wines. Such an amelioration of acid taste by sugar must first be shown to be measurable. Secondly, it would be advantageous to establish a quantitative relation which could guide the blending of wines. Finally, the modification should be demonstrated as advantageous in terms of acceptability. This study was done to try to quantify the effect of sucrose on the perception of acid in a model system, a white wine, and a red wine, using ranges of acid commonly found in wines of this type.
- Copyright 1972 by the American Society for Enology and Viticulture