The malolactic fermentation, or “malo”, is a 2nd fermentation happening several weeks after harvest, the 1st fermentation being the alcoholic fermentation.
This fermentation is given by anaerobic bacteria (they do not need oxygen to live) called Oenococcus oeni that will turn malic acid into lactic acid. Indeed, wine is very acidic because of malic acid (comparable to the acidity of a green apple), so it is necessary to deacidify it in a natural way thanks to these bacterias that allow the appearance of an acid much more lighter : the lactic acid . All the red wines undergo this deacidification but the methods can vary. It can be done in vats or barrels for example. At La Dauphine we prefer barrels for the best plots, they must be new to facilitate the establishment and development of these very complex bacteria. This fermentation has a sound (crackling due to the release of carbon dioxide), a taste (appearance of buttery and milky aromas) and it is closely followed with regular analyzes to stop the work of bacteria before they consume other acids present in the wine, which could cause organoleptic defects. When the fermentation is complete on all our lots of wine, we will move to the ageing of the 2018 vintage.