It occurred to me to write this article dedicated to malolactic fermentation because, while I am waiting to collect my husband's car at the service, I went to “A matter of taste” a bistro wine shop in Iseo and I'm drinking one chardonnay from scream of Domaine Curveux… Which certainly carried out the malolactic fermentation. So, apart from the fact that I am spoiled by now and I drink almost only wines chardonnay of Burgundy, I want to say thanks to places like this that have white wines of this level in their pouring and deviate from rampant mediocrity. Before talking about teaching I want to share with you the tasting of this wine: I would like you to taste it, it is a real gem!
Pouilly-Fuissé 1er Cru 2020 Domaine Curveux, Burgundy
It has an intense and brilliant golden yellow, consistent. The nose is distinctive, elegant and broad. There are notes of lightly salted butter, walnut, acacia flowers, candied pear, apricot and vanilla. In the mouth it enters soft, enveloping, savory, coherent and with great balance. Its notes of butter and apricot persist for a long time… and a bottle ends up you don't notice it. In the mouth it tells of a vineyard that certainly has a few decades behind it and of plants that have their roots on a calcareous soil. For me he performed malolactic, but I have not found information about it.
Fermentation in wine
Alcoholic fermentation is essential to obtain wine, but there are two other types of fermentation:
- malolactic fermentation: occurs after alcoholic fermentation for most red wines and for important white wines;
- intracellular (alcoholic) fermentation: occurs before the "real" alcoholic fermentation for new wines.
The malolactic fermentation
Malolactic fermentation (also called malolactic conversion since it is not a real fermentation in the metabolically correct sense of the term) is a characteristic fermentation event following alcoholic fermentation. Lactic bacteria, due to the rise in temperature (18-20 ° C) that usually occurs in spring, trigger it by bringing the wine to maturity. Selected cultures of certain bacteria are increasingly used (Pediococcus, Lactobacillus e Leuconostoc) capable of transforming a molecule of malic acid into a molecule of lactic acid + a molecule of carbon dioxide.
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Malolactic fermentation: effects on white wines and red wines
The consequence is that the wine becomes softer and more balanced, this is because lactic acid is sweeter and more delicate than malic acid, which is more sour. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is more persistent and full-bodied, thanks to a higher concentration of polysaccharides. Its perfume it is less marked by herbaceous tones and takes on shades of butter, nuts, vanilla, spices, leather and pleasant toasted notes.
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Malolactic fermentation: how does it trigger?
For this type of fermentation to begin, these 4 conditions must be met at the same time:
- the pH of the wine must not be excessively low (3,2-3,4), in practice the wine must not be excessively acid;
- the concentration of sulfur dioxide must be limited;
- ethyl alcohol must be less than 15% vol;
- the temperature must be above 20 ° C.
Traditionally it is performed for red wines, but currently it has also been introduced in important white wines, with great softness, perhaps fermented or left to rest in barrique. It is not performed in ready-to-drink white wines, which base their main characteristics on acidity.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.
PS If you want to learn more about other wines from Domaine Curveux I invite you to visit their website!