Thumbs up for faster bubbly

Friday, 19 June, 2015

ACS’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has reported on the use of commercial yeast products to boost fermentation of sparkling wines.

In recent years, many winemakers have turned to commercial yeast products to speed up the fermentation process, but the jury was out on the effects of these products on sparkling wines.

When sparkling wine is made, yeast cells burst open in a process called autolysis. This releases a special kind of protein called mannoproteins that, in still wines (the non-bubbly kind), can reduce astringency and bitterness, improve aroma and enhance body. Although commercial products rich in these mannoproteins are already used to make both regular and sparkling wines, few studies have looked into how well they work in the effervescent varieties.

Silvia Pérez-Magariño and colleagues from Instituto Tecnológico Agrario de Castilla y León in Spain made different varieties of sparkling wine with four yeast autolysates. They found that in general, the added autolysates didn’t affect the foam quality of the wines or the phenolic compound content. One product, which was associated with a 21-34% increase in mannoproteins, enhanced the fruity aromas in some of the wines.

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