The Stylistic Impact of Malolactic Conversion on Cabernet Sauvignon (2016)

This study examines the stylistic impact that malolactic conversion has on Cabernet Sauvignon. Two lots of Cabernet Sauvignon wine were pressed and combined into one tank. A portion of this wine was sequestered in carboy in order to not undergo malolactic conversion. The portion in the tank was inoculated with Lalvin Elios Malolactic Bacteria. The control wine was sulfured in order to prevent natural malolactic conversion from occurring. The results show classical malolactic conversion results, with a decrease in TA and malic acid and increase in pH, lactic acid, and VA. The slight decrease in anthocyanin and tannin is also typical of malolactic conversion. If the wine made with malolactic conversion had been sulfured, it would likely show lower color intensity as well. Sensory analysis found the wines to be significantly different (p<0.05). These wines were voted to have an average degree difference of 4.8 (out of 10), suggesting that the wines were moderately different. There was no major preference trend for the wines in this study. Comments on this study were mixed. There were no strong trends for the descriptors used in this study. In general, the wine with no malolactic conversion tended to show higher Astringency, lower Body, and (surprisingly) lower Acidity. The effect of malolactic conversion on the fruit aromatics, as well as on green and herbaceous qualities, seemed complex and merits further attention.

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