Mlf on Chardonnay?

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Stevelaz

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I just picked up a 6 gal. Chilean Chardonnay bucket, unexpectedly, along with my reds. First time doing a white. Right now it is fermenting with D47 yeast.

From what ive read the only white you should do a mlf is the Chardonnay. Id like to see if i can get some comments from those who do Chardonnays and if they malo or not and the results.

This one is for the wife since i do not really drink whites. She loves Chardonnay and likes the ones with pear flavors...

Also, i am doing mlf on my reds using vp41 and have plenty to do the Chard but at first thought the vp41 was only for reds. However, i did find that vp41 can also be used on whites. Anyone else use the vp41 on a Chard. Thanks!
 

heatherd

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@Stevelaz I have done MLKF on a chardonnay juice bucket and it turned out well. MLF will emphasize the butter rather than fruit flavors in the wine. I used VP41.
 

Stevelaz

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@Stevelaz I have done MLKF on a chardonnay juice bucket and it turned out well. MLF will emphasize the butter rather than fruit flavors in the wine. I used VP41.
Thanks! Did you back sweeten at all at the end? Do you even have to with a chardonnay? Wife likes it a bit sweeter than dry. I once checked the sg of the one she drinks and it was a bit over 1.000, i think about 1.002. Also have you tried doing it without mlf at all?
 

Boatboy24

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Two predominant styles of Chardonnay: 1) MLF and barrel aging/fermentation 2) No MLF and stainless steel aging. Numerous other ways to make it obviously, but these are the two basic styles. One gives you a richer, buttery wine, the other, a crisp, more fruity experience. I don't recall ever having one with any residual sugar, but that is certainly a reason not to try it that way.
 

Stevelaz

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Two predominant styles of Chardonnay: 1) MLF and barrel aging/fermentation 2) No MLF and stainless steel aging. Numerous other ways to make it obviously, but these are the two basic styles. One gives you a richer, buttery wine, the other, a crisp, more fruity experience. I don't recall ever having one with any residual sugar, but that is certainly a reason not to try it that way.
Ok. Im wondering if i should just skip malo since i think the wife likes it a bit more fruity tasting. I was also reading about battonage and stirring up the lees for a month or so while aging and how that also turns out well....

Here is the description on the bottle of her wine she likes:

style: mid way to full bodied
taste: between dry and semi-dry
notes: enticing blend of ripe stone fruit and vivid citrus flavors.
The bright citrus perfectly offsets the honeyed apricot.
 
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Johnd

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Ok. Im wondering if i should just skip malo since i think the wife likes it a bit more fruity tasting. I was also reading about battonage and stirring up the lees for a month or so while aging and how that also turns out well....

Here is the description on the bottle of her wine she likes:

style: mid way to full bodied
taste: between dry and semi-dry
notes: enticing blend of ripe stone fruit and vivid citrus flavors.
The bright citrus perfectly offsets the honeyed apricot.
Based on that preference, my course of action would be to ferment cool, skip MLF and barrel aging, and see how it tastes to her after it's clear. MLF/ barrel, batonnage, will produce a buttery, bready, type chard with some oak flavors, none of which are on her list.

If the fruit is big enough, it is sometimes interpreted as being sweet, even though it is dry. If it's not sweet enough, you can always sweeten the pot a little bit, along with some sorbate, and bottle from there.
 

Boatboy24

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I agree with John. No MLF, no oak, no battonage. If you have more of that wine she likes, take a sample and measure the SG - that'll give you some idea of what you're dealing with on the sweetness scale. Not all wines behave the same though. So if that wine is at 1.010, it doesn't mean that your wine should be there too - again, it'll just give you some idea of what you're dealing with. If you have a pH meter, you should check that as well.
 

Stevelaz

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I agree with John. No MLF, no oak, no battonage. If you have more of that wine she likes, take a sample and measure the SG - that'll give you some idea of what you're dealing with on the sweetness scale. Not all wines behave the same though. So if that wine is at 1.010, it doesn't mean that your wine should be there too - again, it'll just give you some idea of what you're dealing with. If you have a pH meter, you should check that as well.
Are you kidding me? I buy that wine by the case for her! I will talk to her about it and see what she wants to do but im pretty sure I will be skipping malo. I will probable wait till its done and have her decide if she wants a bit sweeter.

Also, will this one be ready sooner than reds usually are? She asked me if it will be ready by July for a party, i laughed and told her this isn't dragon blood!

Thanks a lot for all the advise on this one i appreciate it!
 

Johnd

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Are you kidding me? I buy that wine by the case for her! I will talk to her about it and see what she wants to do but im pretty sure I will be skipping malo. I will probable wait till its done and have her decide if she wants a bit sweeter.

Also, will this one be ready sooner than reds usually are? She asked me if it will be ready by July for a party, i laughed and told her this isn't dragon blood!

Thanks a lot for all the advise on this one i appreciate it!
You might be able to get it ready, but wine isn't on a time schedule, and they're all different. If it's ready, it'll be very young and green, but will improve with age.
 

Julie

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Stevelaz, just for future reference, if you put a wine thru MLF, you can't backsweeten it because MLF and sorbate causes an off taste, rotting geraniums.
 

Stevelaz

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Stevelaz, just for future reference, if you put a wine thru MLF, you can't backsweeten it because MLF and sorbate causes an off taste, rotting geraniums.
Yes, you're right on that! I did see that when i was reading up on mlf for my reds. Thanks for bringing that up!

So I wonder if that wine she likes didn't go through malo since it is close to a semi-sweet wine with a sg of 1.002.
 

Julie

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Yes, you're right on that! I did see that when i was reading up on mlf for my reds. Thanks for bringing that up!

So I wonder if that wine she likes didn't go through malo since it is close to a semi-sweet wine with a sg of 1.002.
I would think that it did not. Actually I ferment my Char using Lavlin 1122 for the yeast, no oak and backsweeten to 1.000 to 1.004
 

Stevelaz

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I would think that it did not. Actually I ferment my Char using Lavlin 1122 for the yeast, no oak and backsweeten to 1.000 to 1.004
Ok. So basically you really do not do anything other than let it age? Sounds good. By the way how long do you let it age before drinking it?
 

Julie

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Age it for a year.
 

heatherd

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Thanks! Did you back sweeten at all at the end? Do you even have to with a chardonnay? Wife likes it a bit sweeter than dry. I once checked the sg of the one she drinks and it was a bit over 1.000, i think about 1.002. Also have you tried doing it without mlf at all?
With MLF, battonage, and oak you're emphasizing the butter-ier notes and fuller body. This is a more savory style.

Without those, and with a bit of sweetness, you'll emphasize the fruit.

I have done both and I like the fruit-forward style better. You may also want to check the acidity of the chardonnay she likes to see what your target might want to be. I do a bit higher acid on wines I don't sweeten, based on my personal taste.
 

Stevelaz

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Ok. Thanks Heather! I think i may skip the malo but may do battonage for only a short time....
 

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You may want to consider leaving the wine on gross lees for around 2 months and mixing the lees up into suspension by rolling the carboy/shaking bucket every 2 weeks. This can enhance the mouthfeel slightly and help to reduce what butter character has been produced during primary fermentation.

You do not necessarily need to backsweeten the wine to leave some residual sugars. As the wine approaches 1.001 try to lower the temperature of the wine to the lower 50's and taste a degassed sample daily. When the wine sweetness seems to be to the level of her liking, hit the chard with 50 ppm of SO2 to hold it there. Malolactic fermenting bacteria are fairly sensitive to sulfites in addition to requiring warm temperatures, so the combination of both factors will be sufficient to inhibit the growth of most potential spoilage microorganisms.

I have made both barrel-aged chardonnay with complete MLF, partial MLF, RS levels held at 0.25 g/100mL, and dry unoaked chardonnay aged on lees for 2 months with infrequent stirring. All done essentially by the process outlined above and none of which had any contamination issues.

Just be sure to degas any samples before tasting to determine when to stop fermentation, as the dissolved CO2 can give a misleading perception of reduced sweetness that wont carry over into the bottle after the wine has degassed naturally.

cheers!
 
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