Coumarin compounds from oak barrels could contribute to bitter taste in wine and spirits

Wine and spirits are complex mixtures of flavor and aroma compounds, some of which arise during aging in wooden barrels. Among other compounds, oak wood releases coumarins, but how they affect wine’s sensory properties is unclear. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have detected and measured six coumarins in oak wood, wine and spirits, showing that a combination of these compounds can produce a bitter taste.