Globe Wine & Spirits
 

September 24, 2018

 
View in browser

Have The Globe's columnists delivered to your inbox. We have a new Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.


ASK BEPPI CROSARIOL

What does it mean for a wine to be ‘native yeast fermented?’
  What does it mean for a wine to be ‘native yeast fermented?’
 

Beppi Crosariol

The question

What does it mean for a wine to be “native yeast fermented?”

The answer

You’ll find words to that effect increasingly applied to wine labels these days. It means the wine maker relied on yeasts naturally found on grape skins and in the local air to ferment the juice. Put another way, no commercial yeasts were added.

That’s how wine was made for thousands of years, of course. In fact, invisible yeasts that normally reside on the skins of fruit were what permitted humans to discover fermentation in the first place. Fruit either rotted or was intentionally crushed. Then the surface yeasts made contact with and would begin feeding off sugars in the pulp of the fruit, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide.

But in modern times, most wine producers inoculate their juice with commercially isolated yeast mixtures. Analagous to the Fleischmann’s yeasts used by home bakers, these carefully selected fungal populations perform more reliably and predictably, minimizing the risk of, say, a stalled fermentation, which can spoil a wine’s quality. These fast-acting lab yeasts also come in various formulations that can enhance the desired flavour or aromatic profiles. For example, there are yeasts that contribute more of a pineapple note to a chardonnay and some that can amplify the natural passionfruit note in a sauvignon blanc.

Increasingly, however, craft-oriented producers have been turning to the old ways with “native” or “wild” or “indigenous” yeasts. (I should add that many producers have always relied on the natural method without ever advertising the fact.)

Proponents, and I’m among them, argue that wild yeasts can often result in a more complex or nuanced flavour profile, much in the way wild-fermented sourdough bread compares to a plain sandwich loaf, sometimes even helping to contribute the “minerally” note that is so prized today by wine aficionados.

At the very least, the use of native yeasts generally indicates that the wine maker cares enough to take risks in order to produce a wine that is arguably more locally authentic or idiosyncratic. Yeast, too, is part of terroir.

 
 
More stories below advertisement
 
 

BEPPI'S EXCLUSIVE WINE REVIEWS

  Black Hills Alibi 2017, British Columbia - A steeply crisp white blend with a subtle herbal quality
 
Full Story
 
  Gérard Bertrand Cuvée Thomas Jefferson Brut Crémant de Limoux 2016, France - This bone-dry bubbly is flushed with flavours of ripe pear, lemon pastry and honey
 
Full Story
 
  Louis Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015, France - It is inky-dark and thick with big ripeness of a hot vintage and a peppery, spicy style
 
Full Story
 
  Pago de Valdoneje Mencia 2016, Spain - A full-bodied red with juicy fruit, bitter dark chocolate and roasted coffee-like quality
 
Full Story
 
  Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc/Viognier 2015, California - This medium-full-bodied white blend is richly fruited and floral
 
Full Story
 

MORE ON WINE AND SPIRITS

Matthew McConaughey’s latest role: bourbon blender
  Matthew McConaughey’s latest role: bourbon blender
 
Full Story
 
Six must-taste drink trends to explore this fall
Six must-taste drink trends to explore this fall
 
Full Story
 

BEPPI'S PICK OF THE WEEK

  G.E. Massenez Poire Prisonnière Poire Williams, France - With a whole pear imprisoned inside the bottle, this fruit brandy is pitch perfect
 
Full Story
 

RESTAURANT REVIEWS AND NEWS

Pepino’s Spaghetti House dishes up nostalgia
Pepino’s Spaghetti House dishes up nostalgia
 
Full Story
 
Calgary’s City Palate celebrates a culinary milestone
Calgary’s City Palate celebrates a culinary milestone
 
Full Story
 
How to feast: Two restaurateurs spent 24 days eating some of North America’s best pizzas and pastas
How to feast: Two restaurateurs spent 24 days eating some of North America’s best pizzas and pastas
 
Full Story
 

WHAT TO EAT NOW

Locally grown bananas in Ontario? It’s a thing
  Locally grown bananas in Ontario? It’s a thing
 
Full Story
 
What are some tricks for quick dinners?
What are some tricks for quick dinners?
 
Full Story
 
Savour late summer’s bounty with this melon and citrus dish
Savour late summer’s bounty with this melon and citrus dish
 
Full Story
 

style advisor magazine

Read The Globe and Mail Style Advisor's fall edition, exclusively for subscribers.
 
View More
 

reader tip

Learn how to use Globe2Go - the digital newspaper replica of The Globe and Mail - on any device.
 
View More
 
 

About Globe Wine & Spirits
This newsletter gives you a head start on your weekend wine shopping with exclusive online wine reviews and ratings, a preview of Beppi Crosariol's Saturday column, wine and spirits Q&As, videos and more.

If you do not wish to receive this newsletter anymore, please refer to the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email communication. Or, you can log into The Globe’s website and manage your preferences under Communication Settings.

Can't log in yet? Registration is free.

To keep Globe newsletters out of your spam folder, please add Globe Newsletters to your address book.

If you have any feedback or questions about any Globe newsletters, please reach out to Scott Adams directly.