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Wine 999 – Where does the butteriness come from in a wine?

 

Help! Where does the butteriness come from in a wine? It seems counterintuitive given the nature of the raw ingredients –
i.e. grapes – none of which in my experience have anything close in flavour. – Rick

You’re absolutely spot on – it does not come from the grapes! The creaminess or butteriness you get in wine comes from Malolactic Fermentation – which is not actually a fermentation!

Utterly confused yet?
Malo (or MLF as it’s also referred to as) is actually a process where tart malic acid in wine is converted to softer, creamier lactic acid – yes the same type of acid found in milk. The process helps reduces acidity.

So where does it come from?
Basically, a bacteria called Oenoccocus Oeni is the culprit – it feeds on the malic acids and produces the lactic acid. The most common way this bacteria gets into the wine is through oak barrels. Almost all red wines and certain styles of white wines like richer Chardonnays for example go through MLF. They have a distinct richness and velvety texture – which make them perfect for pairing with foods.