Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Changing the Smell of Wine
The smell of wine comes from the grapes right? After all Cabernet Sauvignon has a different flavor profile to Shiraz or Pinot Noir. Well the grapes certainly play their part but so does the wine making process and particularly the strain of yeast selected for the fermentation. This was dramatically demonstrated to me during our trip to the Barossa last December when winemaker Matt Wenk showed us barrel samples of his Smidge Wines 2004 Zinfandel that had been fermented with different yeasts. Although from grapes from Langhorne Creek and maturing in French oak the two wines could not have been any different.

At the Australian Wine Research Institute molecular biologist Jan Hentie Swiegers is looking a this very situation to see if he can select the right yeast to create aromas in wines that are more appealing to consumers.

"The aim is not necessarily to pump up the aromas every time," Dr Swiegers said. "It's about giving winemakers the knowledge to be able to create the aromas that the market responds to and usually associates with a wine style."

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