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Superlative North Barossa Example












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On Tasting
Natural Flavours from Wine and Beer Yeasts
Friday, 26th August, 2011  - David Farmer
The Patagonian Beech

Yeasts play an important role in the taste of wine. They add considerably to the aroma and flavours and this is most noticeable in simply made white wines such as riesling where the yeast addition is not masked behind other strong influences such as oak, high temperature ferments, the plunging of grape skin caps and the like.

Naturally yeasts are important in that other great beverage beer and we must record the sensational discovery of the origin of the yeast that allowed monks of the 15th century to make cold-brewed lager. This yeast, Saccharomyces eubayanus, is native to beech trees in Patagonia, where it is found within 'wooden galls' that form in response to fungal and bacterial attacks. These galls are sugar rich. Having evolved in a cold, icy climate, Saccharomyces eubayanus was able to ferment the ingredients that make beer at a low temperature thus creating a new beer taste.

It is the creating of new tastes and indeed new beverages from existing ingredients that fascinates me. I greatly admire natural wine movements of any faith and those who like to use natural or wild yeast ferments. The latter feel this is taking their winemaking back to a more natural environment, one that is free of additives or elements that alter the flow of nature. Although a Barossa practitioner did admit that he was aware that his native or wild yeast population was simply drifting down from the fermentation tanks up wind at Yalumba. Still we both agreed its good marketing.

If new yeasts can be genetically modified to highlight new flavour combinations I'm all for it, though I do understand the wild yeast population will alter. I think this a price worth paying for a taste as dramatic as that new type of beer. Then again if the new taste comes from newly discovered wild yeasts I'll applaud the wild yeast enthusiasts.

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