What is Carbonic Maceration?
Carbonic maceration is typically undertaken with light to medium-bodied wines to make them fruitier and to soften their tannins. The grapes are not crushed, rather put whole bunch into a fermentation vessel then carbon dioxide is added and the vessel sealed so no oxygen can interact with the grapes. There is no yeast to cause the grapes to ferment. The fermentation happens within the grape where the carbon dioxide is used to break down the sugars and malic acid within the grape. Once the alcohol level reaches 2%, the berries burst to release their juice and at this point fermentation using yeast is undertaken to convert the remaining sugars from the grape juice to produce the wine.
My Wine Tasting Notes
Gerard Bertrand Orange Gold 2020 (BC $26.99 on sale till Jan 1, 2022)
From the winery, “The hand-picked grapes are delicately carried to the winery where they are vatted without any destemming or crushing. A semi-carbonic maceration is made from 10 to 15 days with a light pumping over. To obtain a tannin/colour balance, the grapes are devatted, pressed and the wine is blended in a stainless steel tank to finish the fermentation. At the end of fermentation, the wine is put into barrels to complete its maceration.” The winery mentions the name “Orange Gold pays tribute to the power of the Sun and the beautiful sunsets of the South of France.”
Nose: Medium-minus intensity nose with a mix of sweet spices, dried oranges, stone fruit, in particular, apricots, and then some honey aromas as the wine warms up. There are more honey and apricot aromas with decanting.
Palate: Dryish, round with a light mouthfeel. It provides a light acidic prickle on your tongue. A bit silky soft. Sweet orange and pear flavours primarily with a hint of sweet spices and honey toward the finish. The wine becomes rounder and more mouth-filling with decanting. The fruitiness is reduced a bit; less orange, but now you get apricot flavour, and a light toast component becomes detectable.
Finish: A medium plus length finishing with a hint of tannins from the grape skins. A light, dry finish. Light marmalade, orange and honey flavours. The wine becomes a bit tarter on the finish plus you can add apricot flavour.
Gerard Bertrand An 806 AOP Corbieres 2017 (BC $17.99 on sale till Jan 1, 2022)
From the winery, “All the grapes are handpicked. Carbonic maceration lasts from 10 to 18 days (Syrah) and a traditional maceration is carried out (with total destemming) for Grenache and Mourvèdre. After malolactic fermentation, the different grape varieties are blended and the wine is aged in 225 liter Bordeaux barrels for around 8 months. After a light fining and bottling, the wine is kept for several months before being released on the market.” The year 806 on the label represents the first traces of the Peyrepertuse Castle that overlooks their vineyard.
Palate: Dry, silky soft with a lighter mouthfeel. Light, fine-grained tannins. Black fruit, floral, plums and blackberry fruit flavours. You also get a touch of vanilla and juicy berries with air. Definitely, juicy berries after decanting plus the wine is more mouth-filling. Still soft and dry with floral, plums, sweet spices, and cocoa flavours.