: Winemaking

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Beaujolais is distinguished not just by the Gamay grape, but by its characteristic winemaking method, carbonic maceration or, more likely, semi-carbonic maceration. Only in Beaujolais is this technique used so widely, and, in the Nouveau era, with such speed.

Another controversial issue in Beaujolais is chaptalization. In recent years the trend was to pick grapes at the legal minimum ripeness of 10% potential alcohol (10.5% for Beaujolais-Villages and crus), and then add sugar to bring the actual alcoholic strength dangerously close to the theoretical 12.5% maximum permitted final alcohol content.