JWL Issue #137: All about malolactic fermentation

April 20, 2021

It's the last day you can sign up to get the April box today. We've been shipping a natural chardonnay from the Czech Republic, and Duzat, a chillable red from Italy. Over 300 of you have now watched last week's tasting back on YouTube.

This has definitely been our most natural box to date. Long time subscribers will know, we are by no means a natural wine subscription. We favour lesser-known wines first and foremost. This month seems to have collided with these two wines at the same time. Based on the reviews coming in to your Ratings, they seem to be some of your all-time favourites yet.

We've got two tastings this week. On Wednesday, we're tasting a pet-nat and a litre bottle of red – both by Poderi Cellario in Italy. That's £50 for both bottles, orders need to be in before 1pm today.

Then on Friday, we have a By The Glass tasting introduction on Napa Valley. Napa has some serious history. Over the last 40 years it's gone from obscurity to producing some of the serious wines in the world. Now known for its heavy, hearty reds, it also has a different side to it as well.

For £70, you get five glasses of wine in our Napa Valley primer. The wines included are all serious wines. The Patz & Hall chardonnay retails at over £100 per bottle, the Burgess cabernet is from the 2002, and there's plenty more in prime. This is a tasting where all five bottles would cost you hundreds of pounds, and this is the chance to try them By The Glass. Orders must be in by Wednesday at 12pm.

Some of our malolactic fermented wines are going down a treat at the moment – our Moscatal Tinaja in particular – and so we're doing a Taste & Learn special on the malo today.

Some other brands we've been loving

We've been drinking a lot of Punchy drinks recently. Punchy do low and no-alcoholic drinks but done very well. Their no alcohol drinks are the perfect way to balance out drinking in the sun while maintaining some lower alcohol content! My personal favourite is the blood orange one. You can get 20% off with the code GOODVIBES as well – visit punchydrinks.com.

And finally, there's been plenty of meal kits going around at the moment, but Planthood may be our favourite vegan one. They've got some really interesting meals at the moment, and a delicious way to eat less meat. £10 off your first box with code WELCOME10 at planthood.co.uk.


Three delicious supermarket wines with malo

Three wines with malolactic fermentation so you can test out what you’ve picked up in this week’s Learn section.

A creamy, full body from the malolactic fermentation on one side, but then full on fresh peach and citrus on the other. It’s almost two wines going on at the same time with this Faustino Rivero Albariño (Sainsbury’s, £12). The bottle is bright, bright blue so you can’t miss it - unless, like in my local Sainsbury’s, it’s always sold out.

Can rosé have malolactic fermentation? Absolutely yes, and this Provence rosé is made by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Studio by Miraval (Co-op, £12) is weighty, it has that creamy, full quality. This type of rosé is great while we’re still in Spring and want something with more going on than.

Barbecue wine for when it’s a bit cold to actually be barbecuing. Tesco Finest Valipolicella Ripasso (Tesco, £11) is full of malolactic fermentation. I like going for supermarket own brand wines because they cut out the middleman and go direct to the wineries. You won’t get exciting wine, but you won’t get any nasty surprises and will get good value for money.


Malo! What's malo?

To start, it's short for malolactic fermentation.

All fruit contains malic acid - and so do grapes. When you bite into a granny smith apple and your mouth waters, that is malic acid doing its work.

In malolactic fermentation, malic acid is eaten by a bacteria called oenococcus oeni and becomes lactic acid. This is the acid that makes up milk. It’s acid but in a completely different way. It’s soft, round and feels full.

The two different acids (malic and lactic) make up the name malolactic - which makes it much easier to remember. Most red wines go through this process as do some of my favourite white wines.

Whenever your wine feels full bodied, it’s probably had some malolactic fermentation.

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