Back in August, I added malolactic bacteria (the “malo”) to my pressed wine so that second fermentation (aka. malolactic fermentation, aka. MLF) would begin. More specifically, I added MBR 41 because it can tolerate high alcohol, high PH, and high SO2 levels, all of which are typical for red wines from Texas. It was not my first choice, but it was in stock and could be delivered quickly.
After adding the malo, I just had to wait and hope that it was working. MLF is very important for red wine so that tart malic acid can be converted into lactic acid, a softer, more palatable acid. With my stainless steel tank and without lab tools, it was almost impossible to tell if the malo was doing its job. Mr. B explained that I should hear a popping sound. The internet explained that I should see tiny bubbles. All was quiet, and I could not see bubbles. It was not obvious that anything was happening. I panicked a little. So, I went ahead and added more malo, just to be safe.
A couple months later, Mr. B asked me to send him a sample so it could be lab tested. Malolactic fermentation should take about a month or so to finish, so it should have been done. But really, I just hoped it had started in the first place, even if the process wasn’t complete. On October 19th, Mr. B ran the tests on my sample, and the results came in! Malo had started but was not complete. However, lab results were really good overall. Huzzah!
If you are curious, here were the results… PH = 3.45, 14.3% abv, 1.4 g/l malic acid. According to Mr. B, the PH is perfect and the structure is solid. We will have to check again in January to see if Malo is done. For now, enjoy this picture of Romeo, my pup who this wine is named after…