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Malo-lactic fermentation experiment and advice

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AaronSC

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Hi all,
For most of my winemaking life I was in the Finger Lakes and induced a MLF (which I know is not actually a fermentation) in all my red wines, since not having enough acid was rarely a problem. One exception was a very fruity Pinot Noir in 2010 that had pretty low acid and whose fruity character I wanted to preserve. it turned out to be one of my favorites (and I've made a lot of wine).

Now I'm out here in the foothills of California where acids tend to be relatively low and pHs relatively high. To me, inducing ML in some of these wines seems counter-productive, since they are already lacking in acid. Everyone in California seems to do it, and even adds lots more acid to work around the drop in acidity caused by the MLB.

My understanding is that the reasons for this are 1) they don't like the "sharpness" of magic acid, 2) they like the "butteriness" and smoothness of the resulting wine, 3) they are afraid that MLF will start on its own at some undesirable point.

I tend to find most California wine to be lacking in "verve" and excessively smooth, especially those aged in new oak (which I generally find to be almost undrinkable), so I get the impression that I might like red wine better that had not undergone MLF out here.

I''m thinking of selectively inducing ML in some lots of the same grape and protecting others, to see what the effect is.

I was curious to hear peoples' experience with this and whether they go with MLF or not in reds with low acid.

Thanks,

-Aaron
 

NorCal

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Hey Aaron, welcome. Where about are you? I’m in Loomis. Doing or not doing mlf is definitely a winemakers choice for the reasons you listed. If you choose not to, be sure your SO2 level is pretty high when you bottle. I’ve always chosen to do my reds, for the reasons you listed.
 

AaronSC

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Thanks, NorCal -I'm in Sutter Creek, so about an hour from you, I'd say. I'm new to the area and I actually just discovered the Lodi Wine Works store, which would have saved me tons off hassle since they basically have everything.

I crushed 400lbs of Zin and Mourvedre today, last of the reds. Grenache Blanc and Muscat to go then I'm done for the year...
 

Jeannie Brown

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Hey Aaron SC - I’m Mount Aukum/Somerset!
Nice to see someone “local!”
Thanks the tip on the Lodi Wine Works!
Jeannie
 

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