Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 60:4 (2009)
The recent expansion of the wine industry into nontra-
ditional northern growing areas is due, in large part, to the
increased availability of cold-hardy grape cultivars exhibit-
ing juice chemistry suitable for quality wine production.
According to a recent survey, Frontenac, a cold-hardy red
winegrape released by the University of Minnesota’s Grape
Breeding Program in 1996, is currently the most widely
planted winegrape in Minnesota (Tuck and Gartner 2008).
offspring of Landot 4511 and
tenac is an interspecifc hybrid used to produce rosé, red,
and port-style wines. As a relatively new grape, the defning
sensory profle oF ±rontenac has yet to be determined, al
though it is popularly described as exhibiting characteristic
notes of cherry, black currant, plum and spice (http://wine.
Descriptive analysis involves the quantitative character-
ization of perceived sensory attributes (Stone et al. 1997).
Panelists develop a vocabulary to describe sensory attri-
butes that they are subsequently trained to recognize and
rate for intensity. This technique has been used to char-
acterize several single cultivar or varietal wines, includ-
ing Cabernet Sauvignon (Heymann and Noble 1987, 1989),
Seyval blanc (Andrews
et al. 1990), Tannat (Varela and
Gámbaro 2006), Touriga Nacional (±alqué et al. 2004),
Mencía (Vilanova and Soto 2005), and Albariño (Vilanova
and Vilariño 2006). To date, descriptive analysis has not
been applied to wines produced from the University of
Minnesota’s cold-hardy cultivars.
For this work, descriptive analysis was performed on
six commercially produced Frontenac table wines, with
the objective of developing a set of descriptors to describe
their common aroma characteristics. This sensory vocabu-
lary is a step toward a common language for describing
and discussing the aroma characteristics key to this new
variety and may assist industry members in explaining their
product to consumers. Coupled with volatile analysis and
consumer preference testing, this knowledge may ultimately
allow producers to change processing parameters to better
fit their stylistic goals and consumer demand.
Materials and Methods
As the first commercially produced Frontenac
was released in 1998, the number of wines available for
commercial sale was necessarily limited. Only six commer-
cially produced Frontenac wines, all donated by Minnesota
wineries, were in existence at the time of testing. Wines
were produced in a variety of styles, with fruit from differ-
ent parts of the state and different processing parameters.
Because of the small size of the regional industry, many
winemakers requested that wine processing parameters be
kept confidential. All wines were commercially labeled as
Frontenac, were processed as red table wines with some
fermentation on the skins, and were two to eight years old
at the time of evaluation.
Wines were stored in their original 750-mL bottles in