Background The aim of this paper is to determine the main factors that influence the foaming properties of base wines and sparkling wines and, in particular, the role played by the maturity of the grapes in the AOC cava. Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada and Chardonnay grapes were harvested at two different maturity levels in two vintages. The first harvest was selected because of its desirable titratable acidity and the second because of its optimal sugar concentration. The monovarietal base wines and standard blends were transformed into sparkling wines and aged for 14 months. Results The results indicate that the main factors affecting foam properties are ethanol content, high molecular weight polysaccharides and gluconic acid (which have a negative effect), and proteins (which have a positive effect). Conclusion The main conclusion of this study is that the foaming properties of wines can be improved if harvest dates are advanced.
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