Sensorial analysis of malmsey varieties wines in the Canary Islands. Applied methodology and results

Autores: Cano Fernández, V.a; González Mendoza, L.A.b; Guirao Pérez, G.a.; Sarmiento Pérez, B.c;
Rodríguez Donate, M.C.a; Zerolo Hernández, J.d; Rodríguez Hernández, P.c. and Savoie Gutiérrez,
- Department of Institutional Economics, Economic Statistics and Econometrics. University of La
- Department of Chemical Engineering and Pharmaceutical Technology. University of La Laguna.
- Fundación Canaria Alhóndiga de Tacoronte.
- Agrovolcán Nursery.
- Cabildo Insular de Tenerife.

"The broad range of grape varieties found in the Canary Islands is an asset of undeniable ecological value and their growth represents a major contribution to maintaining the rural medium. In this respect, we must emphasise not only the present importance of Canary Island wines, but their significance in the past for the Islands’ economy, including those made with the malmsey variety.
Today, malmsey production is found in practically the entire archipelago, although the largest quantity and greatest tradition lies in the islands of Lanzarote and La Palma, followed, with considerable growth in production, by Tenerife.
The new configuration of the high quality parameters found in the vine growing and wine sector in the Canary Islands, and the ecological and socioeconomic importance of this agricultural sub-sector, demand considerable knowledge and its application to the vine growing, oenological and marketing potential of wine made with the malmsey grape variety.
The aim of this paper, which is part of a broader Research Project for the “Protection, recovery and evaluation of the malmsey natural resource”, is to synthesise the results of the sensorial analysis performed within the framework of this project. Specifically, using a panel of tasters, we compare the scores obtained for wines made in the project and commercial wines, distinguishing variety of malmsey (La Palma and Lanzarote), type of production (dry, semisweet and sweet), island (La Palma, Lanzarote and Tenerife) and type of taster (expert, technical and consumer), in order to observe possible differences between these factors.

One of the proposed objectives of the Project was to make three kinds of vinification using the same production protocol: dry, semisweet and naturally sweet, on the three islands most closely associated to the growth of malmsey grapes, followed by physical, chemical and sensorial analyses.

We selected the areas where the best grapes were grown on the three islands. The dry and semisweet wines were made with grapes with a probable alcohol content of 14 degrees, and the naturally sweet with 20 degrees. Once the different vinifications contemplated in the project had been made and bottled, a sensorial study was conducted, including some single-variety commercial malmsey wines.
The sensorial analysis of wines was performed by a panel of tasters, obtaining the opinions of each of the three types (experts, technical and consumers) on a tasting note showing not only the score given to the different wines but also a series of descriptive parameters for each phase. Along a month there were three tasting sessions with 12 wines each, except for the last with 13 wines. 
The tasting sessions ended with a discussion among the tasters about the session in general and the different opinions about the descriptive profile of the analysed wines.
For the quantitative analysis (descriptive and multivariate), we used the information contained in the tasting notes, awarding a score to the different phases (sight, smell and taste) and the overall impression (harmony). This paper only considers the total score given to each wine, which is the sum of all these individual scores, so that wine can be classified from excellent to defective using a decreasing numerical scale on which 0 is excellent and 90 is defective. 
The results obtained are based on the information provided by the participants in the different sessions, giving rise to 360 and 254 records for project and commercial wines, respectively.
The results show that the project wines are, in general, classified as correct. The malmsey variety found on La Palma and the wines made on the island were preferred by all the tasters. However, an ordinal analysis shows that for semi-sweet and sweet wines, the variety from Lanzarote was much appreciated. In general, the sweet wine obtained the highest score, consistent with all the tasters’ overall opinion. Although, for certain factors, differences can be found according to the type of taster, this factor is in general not very significant for our results. On the other hand, the commercial wines were also classified as correct, with the best score given to the variety from La Palma and its production".