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autolysis (GB)

Term for the independent enzymatic dissolution (autolytic = self-dissolving) of protein molecules and other cell components without the aid of bacteria. In winemaking, this usually describes the gradual dissolution of dead yeast cells during the bottle fermentation of sparkling wine or mainly in white wines where the technique of yeast sedimentation is used. The amino acids and mannoproteins released during this process have a very positive effect on the taste and consistency of the wine. The longer the wine remains on the yeast sediment, the more of these aromatic substances dissolve (desired) in the wine and give it the typical yeasty and tangy taste.

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