What is Malolactic Fermentation?

tank samples of folded hills lilly rosé

Remember learning about tannin? Likely, the second most common term that savvy wine drinkers like to use is Malolactic Fermentation. Malo-what? If this word has stopped you in your tracks, read on.

Malo or MLF are both nicknames for Malolactic Fermentation. It is a natural process that occurs when a certain natural bacteria eats the tart, malic acid (think of the green skin of an apple) naturally found in grapes, and converts it to lactic acid (the same acid found in milk.) Put the two words together and what do you get? Malo-lactic! The result is a creamy mouthfeel that coats your tongue and adds a lovely, velvety texture. Mmmmm.

So which wines go through Malo? The process will naturally occur in almost all wines that are aged in oak barrels – so most reds and most Chardonnays. The winemaker can control this process by introducing the bacteria themselves or allowing it in some barrels and not others. What is Angela Osborne’s technique? She allows the process to occur naturally in the oak barrels of our reds while making sure it doesn’t occur in the stainless steel tank of our crisp Lilly Rosé, or Rhone White Blend. Yet another step in the winemaking process focused on a balanced, natural approach that allows the wine to speak for itself.

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