Food: The "native yeasts" stripped of the weedkiller

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The wine was probably discovered in a hazardous way, when a handful of grapes abandoned in a warm corner has been transformed as if by magic in magic nectar. Because obtaining grape wine (or rhubarb, or pear, or any food that ferments) is relatively simple: by macerating grapes, the yeasts transform the sugar contained in the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide . Either we imprison the gas, which gives an effervescent wine, or we let it escape, which gives a quiet wine, without bubbles. Once the fermentation is completed, the wine is raised in tank or in oak barrels. After a few weeks, months or years, Tadam! It's ready. Here, goodbye, end of this column.

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Well, in real life, it's a little more complicated, long and tumultuous, hence this series "The Little Vocabulary" to illuminate the crypts. Already, yeasts, where do they come from? No, not storks. There are a multitude of ways to make wine, more or less artisanal. We often see on the labels of bottles of natural wines "indigenous yeasts", which would oppose exogenous yeasts. Wine yeasts are the same as for bread: the "Saccharomyces cerevisiae" are present, in the best of cases, on the pruine (waxy part of the grape grains) and the cellar (place where we vinify and pupils wine in tanks or barrels). But most of the time, these yeasts were gladed with weedkiller or other phytosanitary products in the vineyards, eliminating in fact and diseases, and critters, and "native" yeasts. It must therefore be added, in the form of a magic powder, so that fermentation is done. And the industrial yeast market, unknown, is literally fascinating.

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Perlimpinpin Powder

There are specific yeasts "red wine" or "white wine" and even "great vintages" (!) Which "exalt the varietal characteristics of the grape variety" (sic), as if the work of the winemaker consisted To add a small perlimpinpin powder to its mixture ... You can buy these powders depending on the alcoholic potential, with more or less delicious, fast, and yeasts "respectful of the grape". Some even have an "Killer" (sic), that is to say that they manage to set up whatever the indigenous population present, without self-destructing each other. We sigh, and we rather turn to the winegrowers respectful of their terroir of their grape varieties and who manage to produce wonders without the ounce of an input or yeasts bought in trade.

La cuvée «Rouge-Gorge» du domaine de Bellivière. © supplied by Liberation The “Rouge-Gorge” cuvée of the Bellivière estate. Rouge-Gorge, the cuvée which enchants

We retained the delicate "red throat" cuvée from the Bellivière estate, located in Jasnières, in the Sarthe, simply because it is a wine of great elegance, with yeasts eminently native. "If you knew everything we can add to the wine! We can add tartar, we can do everything! But we do not add anything ", affirms Christine Nicolas, who takes care of the administrative of the estate. A real question, when we know that from the end of 2023, the European Union will force producers of wine and food products to detail all of the content of their products ... Consumers may be surprised to see something else that the word "grapes" writes on the list of ingredients. “ We are in organic and biodynamics. Our yeasts are indigenous, and we do not make a tank foot-that is to say that we do not ferment a small quantity of grapes which would serve us as leaves afterwards. Our fermentations start naturally, with the yeasts of the Pruine. We harvest, we scratch, we macerate, and then, after three or four weeks, we press. We put it in a bar for a year for all your cuvées. For Rouge-Gorge, the vines are forty years old. ”

This impressive cuvée, 100% Pineau from Aunis, is like a dive into a souk in North Africa. There are all the spices of the world: cinnamon, starre, pepper, cloves ... An oriental wine that makes travel, magnificent and elegant. Tasted a summer day with a cinnamon lacquered guinea pig, it was a delight.

PS: For big beginners, Dunod editions released a very nice comic strip to understand the wine step by step: oenologix, all about the wine in comics, by François Bachelot and Vincent Burgeon.

next week: Piwi grape varieties and the nameless raw of Aurèle Morf

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