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"Minéralité des vins : parlons-en !" : la conceptualisation d'un descripteur sensoriel mal défini

Abstract : The word minerality is widely used and spread by professionals and consumers. Since it’s first appearence in Marguerite Duras’ “Les Impudents” in 1946 in relation to wines, it passed from a fad in the early 1980’s to a phenomenon and a sensory reality today, even though no precise definition exists. Since the last decade, the use of the term “mineral” or “minerality” by the press, guides or producers themselves has notably increased in the world of wine. This enthusiasm for "minerality" concept was the origin of clever marketing and the reason for consumers to ask: What is minerality? Should I pay more for a bottle of mineral wine?The aim of this thesis is to better understand the concept of minerality. In order to achieve this, we used several aproaches from diverse scientific fields including sensory analysis, social psychology, and chemistry. This thesis includes four interconnected studies.The aim of the first study is to investigate the social representation of minerality in two social groups, Chablisiens producers and Burgundy consumers. To access the representation of each group we used a free association task. Then, we used the central core theory, derived from social psychology, to analyze the content and structure of representations of both groups of participants. The results showed that only one representation element is stable and shared by the two social groups: the minerality of the wine has an origin in terroir. Sensory aspects are more present in producers represents than in the consumers. The aim of the second study is to gather knowledge on wine production processes in Chablis, and whether the behavior and attitudes of producers and their decisions when producing wines are associated with their representation of minerality. We performed two separate interviews. The first one to establish a typology of the production of Chablis wines, and the second, to put into perspective this typology with how producers conceptualize minerality. Four different types were indentified in Chablis: “natural”, “technological”, “traditional” and “transitional”. The results of the second interview showed that producers associate the minerality to certain parameters and the selection path in viticulture and winemaking activities. The study shows that some respondents adjusted their representation of minerality to their practices, while other producers led their production strategies specifically for minerality. The third study evaluates the effect of wine aging on the intensity of perceived minerality. Several recent studies associate minerality to reduction notes, also burnt, flint or smoke notes. These reductive and burnt notes are produced by sulfur compounds that are also known to be sensitive to oxydation. We hypothesized that if perceived minerality is connected to sulfur compounds it disappear with age due to natural oxydation phenomena. To test this hypothesis, we selected different vintages of Chablis 1er Cru which were subjected to sensory description. The results showed two different conceptions of minerality in respect to oxydation-reduction mecanisms. According to the first conception, minerality is correlated with reduction and according to the second, minerality is opposed to reduction and independent of oxidation.The fourth and final study has a dual purpose: first, to identify the chemical molecules that can be responsible for minerality, and second, check whether topoclimatic conditions can have an influence in the emergence of minerality in wines. This study combines sensory and chemical analysis. The sensory analysis consisted of a minerality judgment and a free description by expert judges. The chemical analysis consisted of conventional parameters, metals and volatile compounds. A correspondence analysis highlighted links between descriptors associated with minerality and molecules or groups of molecules (...).
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Heber Rodrigue Silva. "Minéralité des vins : parlons-en !" : la conceptualisation d'un descripteur sensoriel mal défini. Alimentation et Nutrition. Université de Bourgogne, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016DIJOS044⟩. ⟨tel-01661322⟩

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