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Jbu50

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Last year was the first time I tried MLF. It was with two demijohns of Cabernet Sauvignon. I also had a 23 carboy on the side that I didn't treat with MLF for comparison... I used Laffort's "SB3 Direct" and followed the instructions, stirred a couple of times and let it go until end of December - approximately three full months in a cold cellar - at which point I racked and added SO2. I didn't do a chromatography test to see if the MLF was completed. I assumed and hoped the MLF was done by then... One year later I did a comparison taste test between the MLF and the non-MLF wine. The MLF wine seemed to be very polished, soft, and had a very distinct fruitiness. I thought it was good, but was disappointed in the lack of sharpness and mouthfeel. On the other hand, the non-MLF wine was very sharp with big mouthfeel, but did not have anything significant in terms of fruitiness. So, here's my dilemma. I like the fruit, but I prefer a sharper wine with strong mouthfeel and tannin. Does MLF always remove the sharp mouthfeel? Perhaps there are other MLF bacteria out there that can get me both the fruitiness and sharpness... Perhaps this year I can experiment with another MLF bacteria in a smaller batch if there is such a thing. I read that lots of folks out here are co-inoculating and it seems to be an easier process perhaps. Would be very interested to hear what folks can suggest, thanks.FullSizeRender.jpg
 
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Boatboy24

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You might consider sticking with your MLF protocol, but adding some tannin. Also, not sure what your ending pH/TA was, but some adjustments there could also be in order.
 

cmason1957

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When you say you had the wine in a cold cellar, how cold is cold. Most malolactic Bacteria likes to be somewhat warm. The specs on the SB3 say to keep it around 68F. If it was much lower than that, then MLF probably didn't finish.
 

Jbu50

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When you say you had the wine in a cold cellar, how cold is cold. Most malolactic Bacteria likes to be somewhat warm. The specs on the SB3 say to keep it around 68F. If it was much lower than that, then MLF probably didn't finish.
My cold cellar started off at about 66F in September and dropped to about 56F by end of December.
 

pproctorga

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I just did my first MLF on a white. I kept it at 70F and after two weeks its about done. It did take several days to start. It made a big improvement to the wine, which was a bit harsh with a high TA and now is much smoother.
 

Jbu50

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What about adding toasted oak chips to get some tannins back?
Yes, I generally play around with adding tannin. Lately I've been adding toasted oak shavings and powder to the fermentation, on occasion I add tannin riche for aging, and I also age in a few oak barrels... Want to try adding FT Rouge to the fermentation next time as well... From my experience these treatments do help, but they nonetheless were not able to "restore" the mouthfeel to my MLF treated wine... The non-MLF wine has the quality that I prefer. I guess it really comes down to personal preference. I personally have to have the sharpness. So, my question remains - is there an MLF out there that can provide all the benefits of malolactic fermentation while at the same time keep the sharpness intact?
 

Ajmassa

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assuming you cannot find a lactic bacteria that retains some sharpness (potentially an oxymoron 😁) maybe you can find a balance on the other end. Instead of skipping mlf altogether maybe use a yeast that eats up to 30% of the malic. Might be a nice balance between the 2.

Theres a handful of yeast strains that do this
 

CDrew

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Let's back up a bit. Most if not all red wines should go through MLF. If you don't initiate it, natural processes eventually will. That will make your wine unstable during storage.

If you really want to prevent MLF, like in many white wines, you need to ferment and then use Lysozyme to prevent eventual MLF.

But for red wines, in nearly all cases, I recommend some form of MLF. Either deliberately with a known culture, or naturally. My vote is a known effective culture, co-inoculated during your initial alcoholic fermentation.
 

AbruzziRed

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Let's back up a bit. Most if not all red wines should go through MLF. If you don't initiate it, natural processes eventually will. That will make your wine unstable during storage.

If you really want to prevent MLF, like in many white wines, you need to ferment and then use Lysozyme to prevent eventual MLF.

But for red wines, in nearly all cases, I recommend some form of MLF. Either deliberately with a known culture, or naturally. My vote is a known effective culture, co-inoculated during your initial alcoholic fermentation.
This is good info. But I have been trying to find a simple set of instructions for what to use and how to do it. That’s been a challenge. I am picking up a pail of Montepulciano next week and what would like to do MLF as well.
Any advice?
 

Jbu50

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Let's back up a bit. Most if not all red wines should go through MLF. If you don't initiate it, natural processes eventually will. That will make your wine unstable during storage.

If you really want to prevent MLF, like in many white wines, you need to ferment and then use Lysozyme to prevent eventual MLF.

But for red wines, in nearly all cases, I recommend some form of MLF. Either deliberately with a known culture, or naturally. My vote is a known effective culture, co-inoculated during your initial alcoholic fermentation.
I see what you're saying. The MoreWine! Guide to Red Winemaking manual doesn't offer any instructions on co-inoculation, they prefer post fermentation inoculation, so I'll have to do some research here... Thanks for jumping in!
 

CDrew

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This is good info. But I have been trying to find a simple set of instructions for what to use and how to do it. That’s been a challenge. I am picking up a pail of Montepulciano next week and what would like to do MLF as well.
Any advice?
You can add the culture of malolactic bacteria at any point you like in the wine making process. My usual practice is to let fermentation get started and then add CH16 bacteria at about day 2. There is no more to it than that, other than testing a few weeks later to make sure it has finished. The advantage to me of co-inoculation, is that the must will warm a few degrees during fermentation and the warm conditions help the MLB do their job faster. This means you'll be be able to add sulfite sooner and thus protect the wine from spoilage. Check out this:

 

Donz

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Funny I decided to skip MLF all together this year. I used Avante that eats up 30% of the malic and also have several barrels that have been aging my wines for years with VP41. I was told that these cultures stay existent in the barrel and do the job over time.

Trying to use the least additives as possible this year, we'll see how it goes...
 

Ajmassa

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I see what you're saying. The MoreWine! Guide to Red Winemaking manual doesn't offer any instructions on co-inoculation, they prefer post fermentation inoculation, so I'll have to do some research here... Thanks for jumping in!
Yeah it’s only recently become much more common place. There’s tons of info out there when googling ‘sequential vs co-inoculation’.

The main reason it was recommended against was the thought that the malo would compete with the yeast for nutrients and the wine would be much more susceptible to VA. Everyone just assumed this and opted for sequential since it’s tried and true.

But all kinds of studies over the last decade showed otherwise. As long as both the yeast and the bacteria are properly fed there’s no risk involved. and they found that the added benefit of an alcohol free environment was yuuuuge! Makes the malo so much more agreeable, resulting in completion in a fraction of the time.

Most high end wineries (probably all commercial wineries) still opt for sequential though. The idea is that a slower, more gradual MLF allows for more complexity in the wine. (All the Studies I read did not find this to be the case) But without professional equipment, inert gas system, employees routinely testing in the lab etc etc its a very appealing option for hobbyists to know there’s no extra VA risk and the wine can be protected in just a few weeks.

Im at a 100% success rate having co-inoculated maybe 12-15 different ferments with another 4 still TBD. Testing with chromatography. (Knock on wood)
 

Jbu50

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You can add the culture of malolactic bacteria at any point you like in the wine making process. My usual practice is to let fermentation get started and then add CH16 bacteria at about day 2. There is no more to it than that, other than testing a few weeks later to make sure it has finished. The advantage to me of co-inoculation, is that the must will warm a few degrees during fermentation and the warm conditions help the MLB do their job faster. This means you'll be be able to add sulfite sooner and thus protect the wine from spoilage. Check out this:

Am I correct in assuming that you don't need a special type of MLF bacteria to do co-inoculation, and that most any basic MLF bacteria will work in either co-inoculation or post fermentation? The descriptions for most of these MLF bacteria on sites such as morewinemaking.com specify using it post fermentation only...but I understand that the new trend may now be changing towards co-inoculation. Thanks for the link.
 

Jbu50

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Funny I decided to skip MLF all together this year. I used Avante that eats up 30% of the malic and also have several barrels that have been aging my wines for years with VP41. I was told that these cultures stay existent in the barrel and do the job over time.

Trying to use the least additives as possible this year, we'll see how it goes...
I'm probably going to skip MLF as well... I pressed today and filled up two demijohns and small reserve. I will rack off gross lees in a couple of days. In the meantime the SG is currently at 1.000 and I'm hoping it will get drier still in the next few days. Maybe I'll monitor it to see how it goes and when it stops I'll add the SO2. I also want to add some cellaring tannin powder. Is it okay to add cellaring tannin powder at the same time as adding SO2? Have a feeling its not a good combination and perhaps I should add the tannin later...
 

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