Malos starting to take off

Before harvest, I had an idea on some of the details of the winemaking process figured out. Sure, picking early in the day, hoping to get nice acids, as little intervention as possible, natural primary and malolactic fermentation, etc. The reality is that sure, it’s excellent to have an idea of what you are planning to do, what your preferences are. When reality hits, and your back is to the wall, your decisions can make themselves.

This is what I prepared for. The bad surprise. I heard this all harvest by countless locals. I planned to have things not go my way at some point. I had backups.

One thing that is worth mentioning is the primary and secondary fermentations. Innoculating the wine with commercial yeasts can help a winemaker sleep better at night as there is much more control in the fermentation process. There are arguments that something is lost when using non-indigenous yeasts. I decided early on that I would use the native yeasts for the primary fermentation. What if the fermentation stuck? Well, I would warm up the tank and wait? If that didn’t work? Well…I was mentally prepared to act fast if things got pear shaped. This was a real fear of mine.

Thankfully, the fermentation went well. More possible downsides of native yeast fermentations are terribly fast and hot fermentations, odd aromatic notes and stuck fermentations. None of the above happened. The fermentation was steady, and did not exceed 29*C. No odd notes aside from the whole cluster in the Morey Saint Denis being reduced.

Looking forward at this point my thoughts went to the secondary fermentation. In Burgundy, this process can take around a year to get underway when the malos are native. I’ve tasted countless wines that have been produced this nerve racking way of just letting the wine ‘do it’s thing’ so I figured, why not?

This vintage, many have reported on having low malo numbers while others shot through malo fermentation in record time. My native numbers looked low when I last checked, however, they just took off. There is still a good amount of time left for the process to be complete. But this is very good news as the timing is much earlier than I expected.

Thanks again for stopping by…


4 thoughts on “Malos starting to take off

  1. Hey Ray, any clue what your winemaking neighbors are doing? Commercial vs native yeasts? I assume any stray commercial yeast probably gets out-competed by native outside of the fermenting vessel.

  2. Ray, very cool to read all this. I fermented with native yeast but am innoculating for ML. Two reasons – one is that I’ve never have trouble with native ferments at home, but native ML never worked for me for whatever reason. I’ll experiment with it again, but the other reason to innoculate is that the facility I’m using keeps the barrel room warm for ML this time of year, so it’s now or never. So it goes.

    Question on fermentation peak temp – is that a cap temperature pre punch, post punch, or a juice temp?

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