18 Jan Aromatic, fresh and well-balanced, these are the wines of carbonic maceration.
Surely on more than one occasion you have come across a wine label with the words “Maceración Carbónica” written on it. If you are not quite sure what this means, it is time to explain it, because at Bodegas Dominio de Berzal we use this technique in the production of one of our wines, Dominio de Berzal Maceración Carbónica, also called “Primer” because it is the first wine of the new vintage.
But let’s start at the beginning: detailing what this traditional technique, originally from Rioja Alavesa, which has been used for several centuries, consists of. Carbonic maceration is a winemaking method in which whole, healthy bunches of grapes, without destemming, are placed in a steel tank, creating an atmosphere that is very low in oxygen. To achieve this, CO2 can be used, which is released from the must of the grapes when they are crushed at the bottom of the tank when they begin to ferment, or it can also be achieved by adding CO2 to the tank beforehand.
This whole process is very delicate and involves some extra care, both in the harvesting, which is done by hand and in small boxes, and in the transport of the grapes and their entry into the vat, which must be done delicately so as not to break the berries. The carbonic maceration lasts around 7 days before the grapes are pressed and the alcoholic fermentation is completed in the traditional way: for 10 days at temperatures not exceeding 26ºC.
The result, as Íñigo Berzal explains, are very aromatic wines, with aromas of red fruits such as redcurrants, raspberries… and also aromas of cinnamon and liquorice. In terms of taste, they are fresh wines, usually light with less astringency and a good balance between alcohol and acidity.
In short, fresh and fruity wines, generally less astringent than destemmed wines. Because of these characteristics, they are wines that will go perfectly with light meals, such as salads, pasta, rice, paella… Also with cold meats, cheese and, of course, with red and white meats.