Carbonic maceration

The general wine-making method in Beaujolais is carbonic maceration. The Gamay grapes are tipped into lare vats of timber, concrete or stain less steel as soon as possible after they are picked.

  The entire bunch including stems is left intact. The weight of the grapes themselves gently presses the grapes at the bottom and the juice from these (10-30% of the total volume) begins to ferment slowly. The sugars in the juice are converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide th ro ugh fermentation. The pressure of carbon dioxide increases and forces the 'cap' or grapes upwards. The soaking in carbonic acid gas causes the alcohol to break down natural colourants and tannin and these are absorbed in the subsequent fermentation.

burgundy WINE *** french WINE

The pressure of carbonic acid gas is highest at the top of the vat and the pressure causes metabolism within the grapes. These start to ferment internally, with alcohol being produced and the level of malic acid significantly reduced. Just as important though and a characteristic of this method of wine-making is that the presence of oxygen ensures the retention of o utstanding fruitiness in the aroma and taste. After the carbonic acid has soaked the grapes in a process that takes four to ten days, depending on the type of wine to be produced, the naturally pressed juice or 'vin de goutte' is drawn off. The remaining grape matter is then pressed gently and added to the initial tapping. Some cuvées may make wine consisting solely of the initially tapped natural pressing and these wines can usually be spotted by their 'heavenly' names on the label of 'Paradis'as the French call this sweet, very fruity, and aromatic french wine.

burgundy WINE *** french WINE

 When this initial fermentation is completed a second fermentation occurs in which the harsh malic acids are converted to more gentle lactic acid. The young french wine is then ready to drink at once as Beaujolais Nouveau or undergoes further handling to become Beaujolais, Beaujola is Villages, or Crus du Beaujolais.