Everything you need to know about Carbonic Maceration!

Everything you need to know about Carbonic Maceration!

Carbonic maceration is a special winemaking method used solely for the production of Vino Novello.
Vino Novello is a unique wine and this uniqueness is given precisely by the production method.

How does carbonic maceration take place?

The harvested grapes are placed whole, without being destemmed, inside airtight containers in an oxygen-free environment saturated with carbon dioxide.
The fermentation process of the grapes, therefore, is not what traditionally takes place by yeasts and in the presence of oxygen, but is anaerobic: intracellular fermentation, or self-fermentation, takes place inside the berry, which, through specific chemical reactions, exploits cellular metabolism, which has changed from aerobic to anaerobic, transforming sugar into alcohol and stopping when the cells die "by asphyxiation."
In this type of fermentation, the alcohol has a way to best extract all the aromatic substances present in both the skin and pulp of the berries, thus imparting a great deal of secondary aromas to the wine. Tannins, on the other hand, are extracted in minimal amounts.

Fermentation by alcoholic maceration is quite rapid: in fact, it lasts a few days, between 7 and 20 at most, and takes place at an average temperature of about 30o C.

But in practical terms, what happens?
Inside the hermetically sealed container, gradually the grapes crush under their own weight and the liquid, the fruit of fermentation, begins to form.
When fermentation is complete, the grapes are actually crushed and any residual sugar is allowed to turn into alcohol through the traditional fermentation process for a few more days.

The wine obtained by this winemaking process is a light wine, with an alcohol content that is not high, soft and very little tannic, very rich in floral and fruity aromas and scents, with very intense and vivid colors, and not suitable for aging.

According to Italian regulations, in order for a wine to qualify as novello, carbonic maceration must involve at least 40 percent of the grapes used, while the remaining 60 percent can be processed using normal winemaking techniques. This discretion means that novello wines can be found on the market with a percentage of grapes treated with carbonic maceration ranging from 40 to 100 percent.

Regarding marketing, current regulations require that Vino Novello be introduced to the market from October 30 of the same year as the harvest until December 31.

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