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Selecting the Right Yeast for your Wine
Know Your Yeast - How to select the right yeast for your wine
Using the right kind of yeast is very important for the style of wine we want to make. This may be the most important step in planning our wine making. Because we are focusing on making wine, we will be discussing wine yeasts.
A Little Background: In the good old days, we simply let our wine start fermenting. This was known as the "Natural" way of making wine. While nearly all juices will start fermenting if you leave them open to the elements, you will find that the results are pretty unpredictable. In time, your wine will turn to vinegar.
Some have used Baker’s Yeast. While it will ferment your wine, Baker’s yeast will not clarify and it will leave you with a pretty yeasty beverage. Although Baker’s Yeast is great for making bread as it was intended to, I am sure we all prefer knowing that the time and effort we put into making our wine will pay off with a good, tasty wine that we and our friends will enjoy and surely ask for a second glass.
Let’s start with the yeasts found in the Red Star® product line.
• Pasteur Champagne (Davis 522) : comes from the yeast collection from the University of California. This yeast is a strong fermenter with high alcohol tolerance. It will consistently ferment grape and other fruit juices to dryness. This strain also has good tolerance to free sulfur dioxide. Use for full-bodied reds and whites. It develops good flavor complexity and intense color.
• Pasteur Red(Davis 904) : comes from the Institute Pasteur in Paris. It is a strong, even fermenter that produces full-bodied red wines. This yeast encourages varietal fruit flavors, balanced by complex aromas, especially when using grapes of the Cabernet family. Because it tends to generate heat during fermentation, you may need to cool your fermentation to prevent an excessive temperature increase. This yeast adds character to less robust red grapes or those picked before they are fully ripe.
• Montrachet : This yeast guaranties a quick start and strong by quickly settling into juice. Good alcohol tolerance (up to 15%) and recommended for fermentation without temperature control, thanks to its ability to ferment within a wide temperature range (59°F to 95°F). Optimum resistance to all nutritional deficiencies (musts poor in available nitrogen) and to difficult conditions (strongly clarified musts, high SO2 content). This yeast has little affect on the wine's aroma. Select this yeast for its ability to give very clean aromas. Produces high quality red and white wines with very good aroma complexity. An excellent choice for making of full-bodied red and white wines that ferment to dryness. Possibly the world’s most popular wine yeast.
• Premier Cuvée : The fastest, cleanest and most neutral fermenter in the Red Star Yeast line. It is able to ferment within a wide temperature range: 45°F - 95°F. Has a high alcohol tolerance (up to 18%) and is tolerant of high free sulphur dioxides. Ferments to dryness. This neutral strain encourages the natural aromas of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and other similar wines. Produces aromas, such as bread crust, hazelnut, and butter. Premier Cuvée is highly recommended for quality sparkling wines by maintaining the varietal characteristics of the fruit. An excellent choice for dry white wines, mead, and fruit wines. Great for restarting stuck fermentations. By using the right wine yeast for our wine, we ensure the aroma, color, finish, and other important characteristics that are influenced by the yeast produce the quality and character in our wine the way we planned.