Saturday, November 21, 2009

Young Oak Vineyards: Volume 47 - Malolactic Fermentation

Hi all:

So, now we are in a "stop" mode! Freshly fermented wine has malic acids in it that have a sour taste like you would find in the tartness of sour apples. In "Malolactic Fermentation" (not really a fermentation process, since it does not produce alcohol), special bacteria convert the sour malic acids in wine to better tasting lactic acids, the kind of acids you would find in fermented milk (i.e.: yogurt, keifer, etc.). Lactic acid also has a better "mouthiness" feel to it that winemakers & wine drinkers prefer!

There are naturally occurring Lactobacillus bacteria found on grapes, but winemakers don't like to rely on just the possibility of the malolactic fermentation occurring. So after our first racking, we have inoculated our wine with the appropriate bacteria from our friends down at MoreFlavor! (formerly Fermentation Frenzy). Part of the malolactic process is the production of CO2 gas, so we should see a bit more bubbling out of the Air-Lock Bungs!

We are allowing the malolactic fermentation to occur for three or four weeks. And the next racking is planned for the week before Christmas, so we are really in the home stretch now! But I am really tempted to pull a glass or two out for Thanksgiving dinner!

We hope you all have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends. Our best wishes to you & yours!

John

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