Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)
On 11/12 we introduced our wine to 54.4 grams of opti malo and 3.5 grams of vp41. We did this because we wanted our wine to go through malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is when the natural malic acid in wine is converted into lactic acid. Converting the malic acid into lactic acid helps the taste and overall mouth feel of the wine. The malic acid is one found in apples – think granny smith type of acidity. Lactic acid is the acid that is found in milk. When we convert that malic acid into lactic acid we have a smoother and creamier mouth feel. Another reason for MLF is to provide greater microbial stability. By inducing MLF, then the bacteria can’t go off on you when you least expect it and have fizzy bottles and popping corks.
The bacteria used to complete MLF can be tricky to work with. You need to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row before you go forward with malo. Your brix/sugar and acidity levels should line up to make a wine that is about 15% alcohol or under, the pH should be no lower than 3.1, and your SO2 should be less than 10 ppm. our must was at 70 degrees and 2 brix when we induced malo. Once your wine is up to the appropriate numbers you can pitch your opti malo, then mix in the vp41.
We chose opti malo because it is a natural nutrient and it helps to absorb any toxic compounds that may be present from the prior fermentation. The vp41 is a good fermenter because it can handle higher alcohol wines and helps enhance mouth feel, structure, and the complexity of the wine.
Cheers ~ CM