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Old 01-08-2011, 03:24 PM   #1
pkeeler
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Default Malolactic fermentation

Making my first wine, thawing out the grapes currently (making a dry red wine), probably start fermentation tomorrow. The LHBS didn't have any bacteria in stock and won't get any until next weekend. I looked online, but the shipping kills you (those flat rate shipping deals that are good for grains make no sense for a pack of dried bacteria you could send with a stamp). The stuff is expensive to start with, and is becoming a real hassle to get.

My question, and I've searched the forum having expected to see it before, is: Is MLF necessary, desirable, or optional? I have Iverson's book, and he seems to swear by it. I don't mind $10 if it will make a difference, no reason to skimp after spending all that money on grapes LOL But if it doesn't matter, then I will skip it.

Another question: let's say I can't get any. It seems to me that the wine is going to bulk age for 9-15 months at least. As long as you pick a time when sulfite is low (assuming post fermentation sulfite does dissapate with racking and/or time), couldn't you start an MLF anytime? Certainly not as easy as 90% through fermentation, but possible?



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Old 01-08-2011, 04:20 PM   #2
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What kind of grape are you using? I've never done MLF so you'll probably get better info from others, but I think it comes down to desired characteristics of your wine and personal choice. (scroll most of the way down on the link) http://www.eckraus.com/home-wine-making-malolactic-fermentation.html

I'm making a Barbera now and I have no plans of MLF but I think I want it to be fruitier, but I'm putting in some oak to maybe bring out some other character to match a little higher acid content. From that article, it sounds like if you want a lighter style wine or more fruity than you can skip MLF.



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Old 01-08-2011, 05:17 PM   #3
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I'm using Malbec grapes from Oregon. Thanks for the link These grapes are in good shape but have been frozen four 4 years, so I don't know if I'd want to emphasize the fruit character. I'd probably be better off making something more robust with more reliance on flavors other than the ripe fruit.

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Old 01-09-2011, 08:39 AM   #4
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There's no hurry to do a mlf, you can do it anytime but as you say best done when so2 is low. I have tasted the same wine pre and post mlf (2 different barrels) and it does make a difference. You may get a wild mlf which saves money, but no guarantees. The normal time to start mlf is the end of primary when so2 levels are low. The co2 given off will protect your wine from oxidation for a bit longer. The danger of not doing mlf soon is it may happen later and leave co2 in the wine after bottling, which spoils the taste.

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Old 09-20-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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Hey. Can you tell me where you purchased these frozen malbecs? Did you buy it online/ is there a link you could give me?



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