Sparkling wines elaborated using the traditional method undergo a second fermentation in the bottle. This process involves an aging time in contact with the lees, which enriches the wine in various substances, especially proteins, mannoproteins and polysaccharides, thanks to the autolysis of the yeasts. As a result of this yeast autolysis, sparkling wines benefit from better integration of carbon dioxide and a clear sensory improvement, especially in the case of long aging. This chapter synthetizes the main results that our research group has obtained about the influence of yeasts autolysis on sparkling wines composition and quality during last years, making special emphasis on the capacity of the lees to release proteins and polysaccharides as well as on their capacity to consume oxygen and thus protect the sparkling wines from oxidation.
Part of the book: Grapes and Wine