Wine yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) vary in their ability to develop the full aroma potential of Sauvignon blanc wine due to an inability to release volatile thiols. Subsequently, the use of ‘thiol-releasing’ wine yeasts (TRWY) has increased in popularity. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that some commercially available TRWY intermittently exhibit undesirable characteristics for example, volatile acidity (VA) formation. Therefore, a trial was undertaken to select and evaluate S. cerevisiae hybrids for the production of Sauvignon blanc wine with enhanced fruity and tropical aromas, but low VA. Hybrids were characterised by clamped homogeneous electrical field (CHEF) DNA karyotyping and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) biotyping, and subsequently trialled against top commercial TRWY that is, Zymaflore VL3 and Zymaflore X5 (Laffort Oenologie), and Fermicru 4F9 (DSM Oenology) in laboratory-scale Sauvignon blanc vinifications during 2013. Most hybrids produced wines with VA levels significantly lower than those produced with Zymaflore VL3, Zymaflore X5 and Fermicru 4F9. Low VA forming hybrids also produced wines with tropical wine aroma notes. Wines produced by Fermicru 4F9 had the lowest acetic acid (the main volatile acid) of the commercial TRWY in this study. However, some hybrid yeasts produced wines with less acetic acid on average than wines produced by Fermicru 4F9. Overall, hybrids NH 6, NH 48, NH 56, NH 88 and NH 145 produced wines with enhanced tropical fruity aroma, but lower VA compared to wines produced by commercial TRWY.
Key words: Hybrid yeasts, CHEF, MALDI-TOF/TOF MS biotyping, Sauvignon blanc, tropical fruit aroma, volatile acidity.
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