The sesquiterpene compounds present in red wines were characterized and quantified by Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction in combination with Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS). Sixteen sesquiterpenes were identified, mainly hydrocarbons but also derived oxygenated compounds. Sesquiterpenes were acyclic, monocyclic, byciclic and tryciclic. Sesquiterpenes were detected in SIM (selected ion monitoring) mode using their characteristics ions. All the sesquiterpenes were identified by mass spectral data, linear retention indices (LRI), literature data and injection of standards where available. Quantitative results were obtained using the method of standard additions. The method showed an average LOD = 0.05 µg L−1
and LOQ = 0.15 µg L−1
. The monocyclic sesquiterpene with the germacrene skeleton, Germacrene D and the bicyclic sesquiterpene with the muurolane skeleton, α-muurolene were present in all the wine samples analysed. Syrah wines were the samples richest in sesquiterpenes in agreement with their typical spicy and woody notes. The results evidenced the possibility to use sesquiterpenes for wine authenticity and traceability.
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