South African Cab Sauv

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pgentile

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If it were me, I would wait, but that is almost always my answer with MLF. I am sure your worry is oxidation more than anything. Think to the way commercial wine is made, particularly in Europe. Rack into the barrel, let the barrel sit for several months, like over the winter, topping up, but not really much more. Let it get warm and MLF finishes. The time period is probably 6 or more months. I don't worry about or even hardly check for MLF completion in my basement for 3 months, then I wait an extra month just to make sure it is all done. It will finish, let it be.

Two votes to give it more time. I will remain patient then. Thanks
 

Ajmassa

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Ummm. Let's call it 1.5 votes. Mine is more of an "educated guess". I've only got 2 MLF's under my belt and 2 more in the works. Co-inoculated all of em with VP-41 and so far it's been smooth sailing with no troubleshoots needed.
Chroma test is still drying to check progress, and fingers crossed I get by with no hiccups again. I feel like it's easier said than done though: to just wait another 1-3 months for MLF to maybe finish while the wine is unprotected.
All the research I've done, and trust me it was a ridiculous amount, has shown that MLF can definitely take a while to finish off the last little bit. Especially when added after AF. And when that happens there's still just a tad bit of malo left in there sometimes that refuses to convert. It's minimal, likely undetectable, but would prevent the chroma test from showing 100% (a "100% complete" chroma test actually has a large margin. And could still have over 30 mg/L). They say under 30 is considered complete. You start with hundreds I think.
I saved all the sites, articles and research and development testing that I was looking at. I should post them in that other MLF inoculation thread. Here's what the other tests look like. I bet your closer than you think.IMG_0437.jpg
 
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heatherd

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I agree on the waiting to see what happens. If it doesn't go as far as you'd hoped in a couple months, possibly dose with VP41 or similar dry bacteria; they seem more reliable sometimes than the liquid ones. Plus you get a 66-gallon dose rather than a 5-6 gallon dose with the dry, maybe that's why it works so well.
 

pgentile

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2.5 votes to give it some time.

This malbec was my 5th MLF, the first two, last fall, I didn't even put MLF nutrients in and they finished and wine is good. I have only read about MLF here and tidbits on other site, so nowhere near as up to speed as @ajmassa5983.

As you know this wine has had issues since moving to secondary, pH 3.15, too long on gross lees, hit with k-meta in a panic after secondary and the awful smell, two reduless applications. Surprised that any MLF took place at all. But will be adding MLB to the sangio/syrah tonight, I think I'll slip some in the malbec with opt-malo as well. And then wait another 30-60 days and retest. If no change then move on it will be close six months old then.

Last years batches were vp41, this years were White Labs Malo, that the LHBS had that someone ordered and never picked up. $9.99 vs $30+. I'll stick with vp41 in the future.
 
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I have never used the liquid stuff, I have read many people having issues with it, in many places. I have used VP41, CH16, CH35 and EnoFerm Alpha. Of those four, I have like the EnoFerm Alpha the best, I have only used it once, this spring on 18 gallons of Chilean blend (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Malbec) and I was very impressed with how fast it took off and completed. As I said, I normally don't even pay much attention to them for three months, these were complete in three weeks. They started showing signs of taking off about two days after inoculation.
 

pgentile

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Thanks, on my way to look into EnoFerm Alpha.

So if others have had issues with liquid MLB, another variable on my malbec could be, that it was a co-inoculation with possibly a weak vial liquid of MLB that only went so far? It wasn't expired.
 

pgentile

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Waited a bit longer ran another test. Looks like the four wines started this fall have completed MLF. I'm going to let the sang/barbera site another few weeks as well as the problem malbec from the spring. Going to rack and sulfite the first three this next weekend. I probably should have thrown mlb into the blueberry.
 

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Johnd

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Waited a bit longer ran another test. Looks like the four wines started this fall have completed MLF. I'm going to let the sang/barbera site another few weeks as well as the problem malbec from the spring. Going to rack and sulfite the first three this next weekend. I probably should have thrown mlb into the blueberry.

Strange, you have no tartaric spot, I've never seen that. It also looks like you didn't leave your paper in the developer solution long enough, as indicated by the white showing at the top of the page. The sheet needs to sit in there until the solution has soaked all of the way up to the top of the page.
 

pgentile

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Now that you mention it, I looked at my older tests and yes no tartaric spots, didn't catch that. It was in for six hours. I think after my sixth test or so, since i got it several months ago, that I don't have enough solution any more and/or it's not full strength anymore. But no spots at all? Will have to order more, and I just placed an order for other stuff earlier.

Thanks @Johnd for pointing that out.
 

Ajmassa

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I meant to ask you about when you added the K-bicarbonate to the Malbec.
I haven't had to remove acid yet and might want to at some point soon. (Good numbers but I can taste it's more tartaric than I wanted)
Was there a noticeable difference in the taste when this was done? Common sense would tell me yes, but without having done it it's hard to know how all these Potass/Calc/carb/bicarb each affect the wine aside from the levels. The world of deacidification info can get overwhelming.
 

pgentile

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There was a slight difference in taste not as much as I would of thought, it was still young then, and not all that great, not bad, but not great. Thin body taste-wise. Visually it's the thinnest body I have ever seen in a malbec. The biggest thing was, giving a dose to get to around 3.3 from 3.15 ended up at 3.6 . Will be tasting in 3-4 weeks at next racking, In the future I will do all necessary pH/acid adjustments upfront.
 

Ajmassa

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Yea man. I’m slowly learning just how crucial those 1st couple weeks are. Adjusting up front should save loads of headaches.
I also read an article about getting more body and color. And they gave a technique for getting another couple days on the skins. Towards the end of fermentation to not break the cap. And very gently punch to submerge without breaking it giving protection for longer skins contact. http://winegrapesdirect.com/crush-your-red-wine-competition-how-to-make-award-winning-wine-at-home/
 

pgentile

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Although I'm happy with everything this fall, grapes and juice wines. I do want to improve the body. Need to look at Lallzyme EX and Opt-Red this spring. I've never made sure a ferment got to 80, I think all have, but focused more keeping from going over 90.

Would like a further explanation on the cap towards the end of fermentation, I'm not sure my caps have been solid enough to punch down without breaking through, or I need a different punch down tool. Wouldn't breaking up the and submerging the cap completely give more contact?

I'm all for the extending the fermentation with reds. I think my zin from 2016 I didn't press until the cap fell. And it's one of my best so far.

I've been reading up on thermo-vinification and flash detente. While true flash detente is impractical for home winemaker, with the AIO the steam could be vacuumed off after heating. Thinking of attempting this with one lug in the spring.
 
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Ajmassa

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I don’t know man. I had lots of questions after reading that article too.
I do use lallyzyme ex (not enough) and sometimes opti red. but still feel the same about body and color.
The “not breaking the cap” thing is something I want read up on and possibly use on Malbec I plan from Gino’s. Just want to keep improving like you said.
I read that thermo-vin post. I think 100% you should do it, or some variation. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. You might end up being a trailblazer.
I also want to buy better grapes. Pickins might be slim but I’m only doing enough for 6 gal. So I’m gonna justify a few bucks more for the best grapes I can’t get.
 

pgentile

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So after 10 months it was time to rack again and I decided to see where my problem malbec was at taste-wise. I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped on this, but this is not a bad malbec. It's lighter visually than most malbecs, but taste and mouthfeel are good. This wine stunk so bad after secondary I had no hope this would ever be drinkable.

Thank you all again.
 

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