In the art of winemaking, tradition and innovation intersect to create a multitude of flavors and experiences. Among the techniques that transform grapes, carbonic maceration stands out as an intriguing and daring approach. It’s as if, for a moment, the grapes take on a life of their own, as they guide fermentation from the inside out.

What is Carbon Maceration?

Carbonic maceration is a winemaking technique that challenges traditional approaches. Instead of crushing the grapes before fermentation, in this method the whole grapes are placed in vats that are then topped up with carbon dioxide, to create an oxygen-free environment. The carbon dioxide generated by intracellular fermentation breaks up the skins of the grapes, allowing fermentation to take place inside the berries themselves.

The why and the when

But why opt for this unusual method? The answer lies in the unique characteristics it develops in wine. Carbonic maceration is chosen when seeking to create light, fresh and extremely aromatic wines. Generally applied to quality grapes but not necessarily intended for aging, this technique preserves fruity aromas and floral notes, resulting in wines that are young and ready to be enjoyed early.

The Process

Once intracellular fermentation begins and the skins begin to break, usually the grapes are pressed to separate the must from the masses. Then the yeasts complete the fermentation, but no longer in contact with the skins. It is important to note that the method extracts color from the grapes, but few tannins, which results in smoother wines.

The difference in the glass

Wines produced with carbonic maceration have a remarkably distinct sensory profile. Its aromatic palette is full of fresh red fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries, often accompanied by notes of flowers and spices such as cinnamon. This method is responsible for the development of the banana aroma found in some wines, such as Beaujolais Nouveau. The balanced acidity contributes to a refreshing palate, making these wines an ideal choice for relaxed occasions and moments of celebration.

In conclusion, carbonic maceration is a winemaking technique that defies convention but has earned its place in the taste of wine lovers. Its ability to create young, aromatic, and light-profile wines represents an alternative to traditional winemaking methods.

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