Question from Cheryl: Is Petite Sirah the same as Syrah?
Monthly Archives: May 2011
Question from Sally: I was at a tasting room at a winery and when the guy at the bar served the Chardonnay he said “40% M L”. I was too intimidated to ask what that means.
Reply: Hello, servers and barristas everywhere – stuff like this is what steers people toward beer! Be helpful and kind to your customers or get a new job description!
OK, I’ve stepped down from the soap box…
ML is short for malolactic fermentation. This normally follows the primary, alcoholic fermentation so sometimes it’s called the second fermentation. It’s actually a conversion, but whatever.
It’s routine for reds, for the sake of stability and to soften the acid. When it comes to whites, it’s more of a question mark and when people talk about ML it’s usually in reference Chardonnay. This is the technique that makes your Chardonnay buttery. Here’s how it goes:
It takes the wine maker about three weeks to make his Chardonnay. Then, lactic-acid bacteria is added to the new wine. It causes the tart malic acid – the green apple acid, to convert to soft lactic acid – the milk acid. So the wine feels softer on your palate. ML also has a byproduct, called diacetyl, which adds a sort of viscous, oily sensation to the texture and smells and tastes buttery. Continue reading