The Beaujolais Nouveau and the carbonic maceration
All the taste of France is enclosed in this young new wine produced through the vinification of Gamay grapes. The name Beaujolais Nouveau derives from the DOC region where it comes from and it is the same of Italian new wine, as well as for the fermentation method.
The peculiar process of fermentation of Beaujolais is tied to a famous name of the world history: Louis Pasteur in fact, produced it for the first time in 1861, perfected then in 1934 thanks to a team of French scientific researchers.
The process of carbonic maceration
The fermentation process of this wine foresees the introduction of carbon dioxide for some weeks in order to start the fermentation of the grapes.
In ancient times, when the fridges didn’t exist, this has been a brilliant idea to preserve the grapes and soon people noticed that the fermentation activated by the carbon dioxide transformed the sugars in the grapes making the grapes big and gaseous, ready for the vinification.
The carbonic maceration occurs placing the grapes in a hermetic iron tank together with carbon dioxide so they remove completely the oxygen. Inside the tanks the temperature is controlled (25-30°C) and the fermenting period can vary between 5 and 20 days. In this period of time the whole grapes are modified by the carbon dioxide starting the fermentation of the sugars in the ethyl alcohol. The peel gives its pigmentation to the pulp and thus the degradation of the malic acid start, one of the main acids in the grape responsible of the level of acidity.
After this first phase there is the pressing and a second fermentation lasting two or three days in vats to complete the transformation of sugars into alcohol. The must obtained is characterised by a bright colour because the peels give the pulp its tannins and anthocyanins and a fruity aroma.
The only thing to do now is to bottle the wine and make it rest for some days.
Beaujolais Nouveau: organoleptic characteristics
Soft, fresh, fruity, with notes of red fruits, ready to taste after few weeks. New wines have an alcoholic volume around 11% and after few days from having bottled it, it can be tasted. According to the code of conduct, Beaujolais Nouveau can be sold from the third Thursday of November, similar to the famous Italian Novello. In this period of the year the towns that produce this wine organize festivals, celebrations, concerts and shows, to toast with 59 winemakers and hundreds of tourists.
Beaujolais Nouveau is well appreciated for its lightness and softness, for the notes of strawberries, wild fruits and raspberries, together with low levels of tannins and a light structure. The colour is brilliant, lively with purple shades.
In France, the third Thursday of November in the typical osterie echoes people screaming “le Beaujolais est arrive!”. Thus the next November join the choir and tap this delicious French new wine, perfect together with chestnuts and dried desserts but also aperitif and cheeses.