This episode of “Wine 101” is sponsored by Talbott Vineyards. No matter what your evening has in store, from game night to a decadent four-course meal, Talbott’s 2019 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir makes the perfect addition. It’s got dark cherry notes on the nose, a soft plush mouthfeel, and exudes those classic Pinot Noir characteristics that we all know and love.
Yeast is one of the core pillars of beer, bread, and — you guessed it — wine. There are countless strains of yeast out there and they all do something a little different, both beneficial and not, when introduced to grape must.
Originally derived from an ancient word meaning “to boil,” the English adopted the term in the 16th century to refer to the froth that forms at the top of a brew tank during beer fermentation. By the 17th century, scientists redefined yeast as these little, single-celled organisms in the Thallophyte family. All yeast stems from ancestral varieties, but as plants evolved and diversified over time, so did yeast strains.
Most Old World wine depends on ambient, wild yeasts to swoop in during wine fermentation, and just like terroir, these local yeasts floating around in the air can give wine a unique sense of place. On the other hand, more modern wineries will use wild yeast in tandem with commercially available cultured, or inoculated, yeast to have more control over the fermentation process. Luckily, there are over 100 cultured yeasts on the market, so winemakers wield more power than ever before in dictating what strains are introduced to their grape juice.
Yeast can do a lot for wine, affecting ester production, increasing or hindering the vigor of fermentation, or even enhancing a specific grape variety’s core character. Of course, there are some yeasts, like Brettanomyces, that in large quantities can mask the underlying grape’s expression, so a healthy fermentation is a much more delicate, fine-tuned process than one might initially think.
In this episode of “Wine 101,” Keith explores the ins and outs of yeast, serving up a crash course on these single-celled critters and how they play into winemaking. Tune in for more.
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“Wine 101” was produced, recorded, and edited by yours truly, Keith Beavers, at the VinePair headquarters in New York City. I want to give a big old shout-out to co-founders Adam Teeter and Josh Malin for creating VinePair. Big shout-out to Danielle Grinberg, the art director of VinePair, for creating the most awesome logo for this podcast. Also, Darby Cicci for the theme song. Listen to this. And I want to thank the entire VinePair staff for helping me learn something new every day. See you next week.
E. & J. Gallo Winery is excited to sponsor this episode of VinePair’s “Wine 101.” Gallo always welcomes new friends to wine with an amazingly wide spectrum of favorites, ranging from everyday to luxury and sparkling wine. (Gallo also makes award-winning spirits, but this is a wine podcast.) Whether you are new to wine or an aficionado, Gallo welcomes you to wine. Visit TheBarrelRoom.com today to find your next favorite, where shipping is available.