The saliva undergoes changes when the person gets older. and so does the ability to pick out aromas of wine just as wine Appreciation.

Tertiary notes or flavors of the wine starts to emerge as it gets older. The young wine would have the taste of fresh fruit that gradually becomes more subdued and transforms into a taste of dried fruit. But as it gets older, different flavors can be perceived like honey, hay, herbal notes, mushroom, and earth.

The changes of flavor in wine is caused by the acids and alcohols that react with each other to form new compounds. Every time a bottle of wine is opened, it is in its new and different nuances. The flavor of the wine continues to change even if the alcohol, acid, and sugars in it remain the same.

Perception of Aromas Changes Over Time

The ability to pick out aromas of wine also improves just as how a wine improves over time, The Guardian reported. The saliva undergoes changes when the person gets older. The amount of saliva produced appears to intensify the perception of the aromas in red wine, research suggests.

The researchers said that their study could help winemakers make wine that is more consumer-specific. Lead researcher Maria Ángeles del Pozo Bayón, of the Spanish Research Council’s Institute of Food Science and Research in Madrid, said “we could diversify winemaking production to make more enjoyable wines based on consumers’ physiologies.”

The perception of wine aromas is based on memories and experience although people can be trained to appreciate the subtle aromas of the wine. But wine appreciation is also shaped by the physiology of mouths, and saliva composition.

Saliva Composition Affects Wine Appreciation

Studies show that the saliva becomes less plentiful and more concentrated as the person gets older. The researchers recruited 11 people from 18 to 35 years and another 11 people that are over 55 years old, then trained them to recognize and rate the aromas of the wine

The researchers also took saliva samples and examined how much each study participant could produce, as well as the pH level of the saliva, the protein content, and enzyme activities. Then, they assessed how well the participants would be able to perceive the smokey and peppery aromas in red wine.

They found that older individuals have a more sensitive palate to these aromas and rated them more intensely compared to younger drinkers.

Federica Zanghirella, vice-president of the UK Sommelier Association, said that the results of the study fit her experience as a professional wine taster. But also said that there could be other factors that affect the perception of particular aromas. It could be the last meal of the taster or having an empty stomach while tasting the wine, or eating carbs, proteins, acidic, and salty foods.

But in terms of saliva, Bayón said that the amount of saliva older people produce could affect the dilution of aromatic compounds. Since older individuals produce lower volumes of saliva, they tend to taste more the flavor of the red wine and exhale the aroma molecules.

Also, the researchers noted that the enzymes in the saliva play a significant role as it metabolizes the aroma molecules in a different way, which allows for longer perception time.

Originally published at Science Times