What exactly is malolactic fermentation?
Inside the grapes (and consequently in the must) there are three main types of acid - tartaric acid, malic acid and citric acid - as well as numerous other organic acids which are present in smaller quantities.
Malo-lactic fermentation, as can be deduced from its name, involves the malic acid, and specifically aims to degrade it into lactic acid through a fermentation of selected bacteria. The goal is to obtain a softer and rounder wine: lactic acid is in fact considerably less astringent and acidic to the taste than malic acid.
Furthermore, the wine thus obtained is significantly less susceptible to micro-biological changes which use malic acid as a substrate for their development. The choice of subjecting our wine to this procedure or not depends, as always, on the product we want to obtain.
Is malolactic fermentation a process exclusively used for red wines?
At Tenute d’Italia we only subject red wines to malolactic fermentation and, even then, not all of them. As we said, depending on the goal we set ourselves and with the help of laboratory data, each year we select which batches to start this process.
Generally speaking, nothing prevents this procedure from being applied to white wines as well, but personally I would find it a rather risky choice: freshness is one of the pillars of the organoleptic profile of a white wine, and (any) an intervention aimed at attenuating it could seem almost a contradiction.
However, each producer makes his own choices based on his own specific conditions and needs and certainly always with a view to obtaining the best possible product!
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