For a long time now — too much time — we’ve debated whether cultured or indigenous yeasts are better. And we haven’t come up with a defnitive answer.
Rivers of words have been written in praise of both. But no one ever remembers that every wine is unique and that every grape grower produces wines that represent a personal expression.
In case you don’t know what cultured and indigenous yeasts are: indigenous yeasts are those which are found on the skins of the grapes (not in great quantities); they are also found on the surfaces of the pumps, vats, and walls of the cellar (in great quantities); cultured yeasts are indigenous yeasts that have been isolated, chosen for certain characteristics, and then duplicated.
- The point isn’t which is the best but rather
which is better for your wines
- . When I began to experiment [with indigenous yeasts], I found that my wines changed greatly. And I discovered that I liked them even more. And this, I believe, is the most important thing. The rest, as the wise man once said, is all smoke and mirrors.
So if you’ll permit me to offer some advice to those who make wine, but also to those who taste wine: take a puff from the peace pipe and experiment, taste, and stay open-minded; diversify your mind and find your own path and have fun. Fortunately, wine is one of the few magical things we have left.
I’d like to propose a truce.
Let’s stop insisting that indigenous yeasts are better than cultured yeasts and vice versa.
Let’s let the grape grower do her/his job and then let’s decide whether or not we want to drink his/her wines based on our own very personal tastes.
As far as we’re concerned, we are by no means ashamed to tell you that we use cultured yeasts. We are very happy with the results of our work and the quality of our wines.
Experience has taught us that even when using this type of yeast, the variability of our various vineyards and the vintage can be tasted — and how! — in our wines. Just come to the winery and taste some tank samples and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Every vat is different — a slap in the face of the standardization of taste.
Of course, I realize that it would be more shrewd of me to tell you that I use only indigenous yeasts. But I wouldn’t want to tell you a lie.
I say what I do and I do what I say.
Over and out.
grape grower, winemaker