Friday, September 26, 2008

On to MLF in the Winepod

Well, folks, we are now in a phase called Malolactic Fermentation; the cool kids call it MLF. It is admittedly a pretty boring phase for a wine maker, but a necessary step in the making of quality wine, particularly red wines. When the yeast has done its job and converted all the sugar in the grape must to alcohol, it is safe to inoculate for MLF.  

This involves adding some bacteria (yum!) to convert the harsh acids naturally present in grapes (malic acids) to softer lactic acds. We have the temperature set on our Winepod between 74 and 76 degrees and we are letting the bacteria do its thing. At this stage it is important not to let too much air in to the Winepod which can cause oxidation. We gently punchdown once per day and then sparge the surface area of the grape must with nitrogen to prevent oxidation.  

The wine is looking darker (a sign that MLF has finished is uniformly dark grape pips, or seeds) and it smells like, well, wine!  The taste is very acidic and somewhat tannic at this point but we have some ways to go before it is ready for the spotlight.  We are going to let the grapes sit for some extra time on the skins, called extended maceration, to develop some flavor and richness.

Stay tuned...

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