Have you ever tasted a wine that had a buttery taste? Malolactic fermentation is a process in winemaking that adds a rich creamy texture to lines. Strangely enough, malolactic fermentation isn’t even a kind of fermentation.
Malolactic fermentation, also called MLF, is a process where malic acid converts to lactic acid, which is softer and creamier. Thanks to this process, the winds acidity is reduced and carbon dioxide is released.
Since the process of MLF doesn’t use yeast, it technically isn’t a fermentation. It is, rather, a kind of bacteria that eats malic acid then poops out lactic acid. Appetizing, right? The end result is a creamy wine that has a velvety texture.
There are several wines that undergo malolactic fermentation. Some white wines, such as Viognier and Chardonnay, and almost all red wines undergo malolactic fermentation. If you note that a wine has an oily mid-palate texture that is creamy, that is the best way to recognize MLF in the wine. You can also recognize MLF by identifying how the wine was aged. If it was aged in oak barrels, it will be an MLF wine. White wines have less malolactic conversion than red. Adding MLF texture to wine is a clever way to give the wine body and texture without losing much of the citrus and positive floral aromas that typically fade when white wines are put in oak barrels to age.
Typically, grapes used for wine are not genetically modified. There are, however, bacteria and yeast strains that are genetically modified that help with the process of fermentation. GMOs are tricky when it comes to wine. The genetically modified bacteria’s in East help to produce wines that are more consistent and affordable. They could, on the other hand, limit the amount of yeast diversity and regional bacteria that is found in wines typically. Not only that, but so many people are turning against anything that is genetically modified, so that would affect the market as well.