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South African ‘burnt rubber’ aroma investigation inconclusive

Researchers conducting a hi-tech inquiry into the origin of the ‘burnt rubber’ aroma found in some South African red wines have so far drawn a blank in their investigations.

The research, initiated by Wines of South Africa last year, has used a range of detailed scientific processes to try to identify the distinctive flavour, variously described as ‘burnt’, ‘rubbery’ or ‘green’.

But scientists say there is no specific link between the aroma and grape variety, region or vintage. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that it is not related to quality.

‘We have not yet established scientifically what this aroma is or whether it is unique to South Africa,’ concludes the interim report.

Further tests are being conducted with an expanded tasting panel, and another update is expected in October this year.

Written by Richard Woodard

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