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Picking juices & MLF

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Bts

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Hi. I'm new here and planning to do my first juice buckets this year. I'm wondering how important MLF is for the varieties I'm considering. I'll probably do probably 2 buckts out of bardonlino, sangiovese, petite sirah or _maybe_ amarone. I'm wondering how necessary MLF is for each of these, since MLF seems expensive, error prone, and time consuming, so I'd rather avoid it if reasonably possible. I love petite sirah but it seems like everyone here does MLF on it. I'm also potentially moving sometime in the next year so ideally i'd get this batch done and bottled within maybe 3 months rather than letting it sit in a carboy for a year. I'm kinda leaning toward skipping the petite sirah and going with the lighter varieties(sangio and badronline) which I assume don't need MLF and can be bottled quicker. Is that a reasonable assumption? Also, any recommendations for california sangio, italian sangio, or italian brunello. Thanks for any advice you can give. For background I'v done a couple kits, country wines, meads and ciders over the years, but I've never tried MLF, or really any reds other than a kit or two.
 

Cibb

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This is my first year using juice so I'm in the same boat. Mlf seems like a challenge but from what I've read it is basically required for reds that aren't kits. As far as strains I've no clue but figured I'd bump the thread for help.
 

cmason1957

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Mlf sounds daunting, but really isn't any more than adding a bacteria and waiting. I would do it on all of the reds you mentioned. I get grapes or juice buckets. Let the juice warm. Add no sulfites or a very scant amount. Ferment as normal, at about 1.010 or lower add my Mlf. I always use one of the ones like VP41, CH16, CH35. Last time I used Enoform Alpha and liked what it did for a big red field blend of cab Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. Now comes the hard part. Don't worry. Stir the wine every week or twice a week, gently, if you forget, don't worry. After two months test the completion. I normally use Mlf test kit that changes color based on amount of malic left. Many others do a chromatography test. Both are great, not hard to do. It just takes a tiny drop to do either. After you think it is done, wait another month just to be sure. I know you are now worried about oxidization, don't open that carboy and don't worry.
 

Bts

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Thanks for the advice. I ordered the petite sirah and the bardolino, so I guess I'll bite the bullet and do my first MLF :)
 

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