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Malolactic fermentation

(aka MLF, ML, secondary fermentation)

The process of turning harsh malic acids (found in green apples) into softer lactic acids (found in milk). Once a wine has undergone MLF it is creamier.

This is a necessary process for red wines, but is optional for white wines: it softens the wine by reducing acidity, but also reduces some of the fruit character so is less refreshing. MLF is common practice in cooler areas (e.g. Burgundy) but rare in hot areas like Australia and California. Malolactic fermentation imparts flavours such as butter and hazelnut.

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