There’s a competition for just about everything, malolactic fermentation for example!

Stainless steel tanks in the winery

Stainless steel tanks in the winery, copyright BKWine Photography

The Lallemand Malolactic Fermentation Wine Competition 2012″ – This is probably the most original wine competition that we have heard of. It was organized for the second time by chemical company Lallemand in Madrid in February this year. The idea behind the competition is to make people (wine makers) aware of the importance of controlling the malolactic fermentation. In other words: do not rely on nature for your malo. Better to add lactic bacteria (preferably bought from Lallemand!) to get it started exactly when you want it to start.

90 wines from Spain and Portugal competed. There were three categories for red wines:

1.    Wines that had been co-inoculated  (yeast for the alcoholic fermentation and bacteria for the malolactic are added simultaneously) and not oak aged

2.    Wines  that had been sequential inoculated (bacteria added after the alcoholic fermentation) and not oak aged

3.    Wines that had been either  sequential inoculated or co-inoculated and oak aged

The malolactic fermentation occurs thanks to lactic bacteria that transforms malic acid into lactic acid. Consequently the wine gets a bit softer and rounder in the mouth. The malolactic also stabilizes the wine.

It is not necessary to add the bacteria because you already have them in the wine. So if you like you can just let it happen naturally, by heating the tank after the alcoholic fermentation for instance. But maybe you have to wait a bit. Maybe even until spring or summer, the year after the harvest. And many wine producers are not equipped with that sort of patience.

Read more about the competition here:

Red wine in an oak barrel, Burgundy

Red wine in an oak barrel, Burgundy, copyright BKWine Photography

This post is also available in: Swedish

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