The production of wines with peculiar analytical and sensorial profiles, together with the microbiological control of the winemaking process, has always been one of the main objectives of the wine industry. In this perspective, the use of oenological starters containing non-Saccharomyces
yeasts can represent a valid tool for achieving these objectives. Here we present the results of seven pilot scale fermentations, each of which was inoculated with a different non-Saccharomyces
yeast strain and after three days with a commercial Saccharomyces cerevisiae
starter. The fermentations were carried out in double on 70 L of Sangiovese grape must, the most widely planted red grape variety in Italy and particularly in Tuscany, where it is utilized for the production of more than 80% of red wines. Fermentations were monitored by assessing both the development of the microbial population and the consumption of sugars at the different sampling times. The impact of the different starters was assessed after stabilization through the evaluation of the standard analytical composition of the resulting wines, also taking into account polysaccharides and volatile compounds. Moreover, quantitative descriptive sensory analyses were carried out. Compared to the control wines obtained by inoculating the S. cerevisiae
starter strain, those inoculated with non-Saccharomyces/Saccharomyces
mixed starters presented a significant differentiation in the chemical-analytical composition. Moreover, sensory analysis revealed differences among wines mainly for intensity of color, astringency, and dryness mouthfeel perception.
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