Thirteen sulfur compounds (boiling points from 35 to 231 degrees C), usually considered as possible off flavoring volatiles, were quantified by a concurrent headspace-solid phase microextraction method coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME/GC-MS) on 80 not off-flavoring wines of four varieties (Merlot, Marzemino, and Teroldego as red wines and Chardonnay as a white one) and of five vintages produced in the North Italian Trentino region. The results of the research, the first Italian data-bank per variety on such volatiles, allow us to make a comparison with the data of other winegrowing areas, to investigate the aging effect on the considered volatiles, and, finally, to try a variety discrimination using statistical procedures. Dimethyl sulfide, 3-(methylthio)-1-propanol, diethyl sulfide, and diethyl disulfide were found to increase with time whereas 2-mercaptoethanol and ethylmercaptan showed a decreasing trend. Furthermore, the concentration of several compounds was found to be dependent on the variety. For instance, sulfide, disulfides, benzothiazole, and thioalcohols are at higher levels in Merlot wines, whereas thiols and thioacetates are more abundant in Marzemino and Teroldego wines. Chardonnay products, well apart from the other wines, are the poorest in 3-(methylthio)-1-propanol and rather rich in dimethyl disulfide and in diethyl disulfide, mostly in the aged wines. Applying the principal component analysis to the data, it was possible to demonstrate that Chardonnay and Merlot wines are well-discriminated from the Italian native varietal wines, which on their turn are only partially distinguishable among them. A contribution of these compounds to the variety characteristics of wine is reasonable.
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