Wine,Wine Making

Malolactic Simplified

Ball-and-stick model of lactic acid
Image via Wikipedia

Sipping on a very expensive Chardonnay; lots of oak, 100 percent ML… considered to be one of the best, I’m thinking…

Malolactic fermentation:

A + B = C

Acid + Bacteria = Cream.

  • The Acid is Malic, the same one found in Apples and lots of other fruit.
  • The winemaker adds a Bacteria.
  • The conversion is from Malic Acid to Lactic Acid as an end product, which is the same acid that’s found in Cream.

This ML Chardonnay by itself is a topic of conversation; so, if that’s your intent, winemaker, you win. With food, however, it becomes a topic of how Chardonnay can be over manipulated.

So, what kind of Chardonnay floats my real boat?

Chablis styled chardonnay… Very simple, very clean, and very refreshing. Lower alcohol, did I mention that as well?

Whomever decided that malolactic fermentation had to also be applied to white wines, most specifically in this case Chardonnay, came on with a vengeance. And, unfortunately for my palate, so many winemakers followed.

Note to you guys for people like me: pull back on it a bit for a food friendly wine. If I want almonds and cream, I’ll be eating them, along with enjoying my less expensive wine to balance my food flavors. And, if I want caramel, I’ll suck on hard candy after dinner.

That’s how you as a consumer can decide not to get these big, over the top flavors… Go for the cheaper Chardonnays, because it costs a lot of money to malolactic ferment…

Less expensive Chardonnays pair well as an aperitif with cheeses, with cream dishes like a creamy dill asparagus soup; or chicken, pork, and fish with lovely sauces (like a plum or teriyaki sauce) that rounds out your flavors.

You, too, can join the “Cheap Date Society.”

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8 Responses to “Malolactic Simplified”

  1. […] post Malolactic Simplified appeared first on Wine […]

  2. James Rego says:

    To each his own. Simply put, both styles have their place.

  3. Aaron says:

    Thank you! Thank you for saying it and putting it out there. I don’t generally mind a touch of ML, but by and large, like you, I’m much more in favor of a Chablis style Chardonnay. Unfortunately, the big, giant, ML heavy over oaked Chardonnay coming out of California is a big money maker, so unfortunately I don’t see a trend in changing that coming anytime soon 🙁

  4. Jo says:

    Aaron, you’re right about what makes money in Chardonnays, but that doesn’t make me like them any better. I want wine to complement my food, instead of spending my time paying homage to it. But, there a market for ego.

  5. Jo diaz says:

    Aaron, there’s a price tag on ego; ergo, it sells. I also think that a super palate, which I have, doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles, because it’s flavor overload.

  6. Paul Moe says:

    I am very curious about your friend Steve Heimoff has to say on this subject as it relates the Jackson Family wines.

  7. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, they do, James. My story is simply my opinion. Occasionally, I can have a big Chardonnay and enjoy it; but, it’s happening less and less. I like more fruit… just what I enjoy.

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