Wild yeast or cultivated yeast? That is the eternal question right now, or at least one can get that impression in certain discussions.
It seems as if the wild yeast is gaining ground, but that impression may come from that so much is written about natural wines. For most consumers, it probably does not matter how the wine has fermented, but for some wild fermentation has become a sacred cow. Among wine producers, opinions are divided.
Jean Natoli has a very well-regarded oenological laboratory in the Languedoc, a region where wild fermentation is apparently increasing. Jean Natoli himself is critical of the wild yeast.
He has looked at the laboratory’s statistics and notes that the risk of winemakers getting into trouble is ten to a hundred times greater if they use wild yeast.
During wild fermentation, he says, high levels of ethyl acetate, volatile acids, Brettanomyces or other off-flavours are more easily formed. He thinks it is far better to explore the interesting range of cultured yeast of other yeast strains than Saccharomyces cerevisiae that exists today.
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