What is Carbonic Maceration?

Carbonic maceration, or maceración carbónica in Spanish, is a traditional wine-making technique used to make young, aromatic, fruit-rich wines for everyday drinking.

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Techniques vary, but the basic idea is the same: whole bunches of grapes are carefully placed in a smallish tanks so they don’t break, and are covered with carbon dioxide to keep out oxygen.

The grapes then undergo a so-called intracellular fermentation, with each intact berry undergoing its own little fermentation within the berry itself until they burst and release their juice.

This method produces wines with lots of flavour, but less tannins and sometimes a slight ‘bubblegum’ flavour.

The technique is very popular in the Beaujolais region of France, but here in Spain lots of wineries in Rioja use it too.