Chances are you’ve never heard this term, but you’ve tasted it. Carbonic Maceration is the method of fermenting grapes into wine that creates fresh, fruity wines prime for consumption without the need for aging.
The standard method of fermentation occurs when yeast is manually or naturally added to grape in order to convert sugar into alcohol. This is a process that occurs in two distinct stages: primary and secondary - also sometimes described as aerobic and anaerobic fermentations.
Alternatively, Carbonic Maceration involves placing whole cluster bunches of grapes (still on the stems) into a sealed vat with carbon dioxide. The key to this process is not to disturb the skin of the grapes. When starved of oxygen, the fruit releases natural enzymes that break down sugar to alcohol. Sugars are fermented without the help of any micro-organisms or additives.
Typically, Carbonic Maceration can take anywhere between 5 and 15 days to complete. During this process the carbonic wines see very little skin contact. As a result, wines that go through the Carbonic Maceration process have low tannins and are usually light in color with bright acidity, light, refreshing, and have fresh and fruity aromatics.
So, if you aren’t sure you’ve had a wine created by the Carbonic Maceration process, we highly recommend adding it to your ‘must’ list. Currently, we’re featuring the 2018 Matthiasson Tendu California Red, hailing from Dunnigan Hills, CA.
Be sure to follow us on social media and check Mayhewwineshop.com weekly for future tastings that might feature some of these great Jura appellations.