Wine colour, phenolics and volatile fermentation-derived composition are the quintessential elements of a red wine. Many viticultural and winemaking factors contribute to wine aroma and colour with choice of yeast strain being a crucial factor. Besides the traditional Saccharomyces species S. cerevisiae, S. bayanus and several Saccharomyces interspecific hybrids are able to ferment grape juice to completion. This study examined the diversity in chemical composition, including phenolics and fermentation-derived volatile compounds, of an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon due to the use of different Saccharomyces strains. Eleven commercially available Saccharomyces strains were used in this study; S. cerevisiae (7), S. bayanus (2) and interspecific Saccharomyces hybrids (2). The eleven Cabernet Sauvignon wines varied greatly in their chemical composition. Nine yeast strains completed alcoholic fermentation in 19 days; S. bayanus AWRI 1375 in 26 days, and S. cerevisiae AWRI 1554 required 32 days. Ethanol concentrations varied in the final wines (12.7-14.2 %). The two S. bayanus strains produced the most distinct wines, with the ability to metabolise malic acid, generate high glycerol concentrations and distinctive phenolic composition. Saccharomyces hybrid AWRI 1501 and S. cerevisiae AWRI 1554 and AWRI 1493 also generated distinctive wines. This work demonstrates that the style of a Cabernet Sauvignon can be clearly modulated by choice of commercially available wine yeast.
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