Red Wine Malolactic Fermentation
The Use of Malolactic Fermentation in Red Wine Production
The result of this process is a lower level of perceptible acidity in the wine. They do this by adding Leuconostoc bacteria and an ML starter comprised of vitamins, nutrients and amino acids.
Once these bacteria are present in the winery environment, they will naturally trigger malolactic fermentation with no intervention from the winemaker. Warmer temperatures are more conducive to the process occurring naturally.
Softer characteristics are sought more with some varietals in certain climates than with others. Winemakers generally want less malolactic fermentation to occur in grapes from warmer regions than in grapes from cooler regions. This is because warmer climates produce grapes with less acidity that generally need less softening.
But there are many exceptions, and some winemakers from cooler regions eschew any malolactic fermentation, while some producers from warmer regions try to induce as much malolactic fermentation as possible. It depends on the winery’s philosophy as well as the wine style they feel will be most profitable.
It is extremely important that this process is entirely complete before bottling. Also if the wine loses too much acidity to malolactic fermentation, this can be corrected by adding tartaric acid after the fact.
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