Cabernet Sauvignon – Winemaking (2)

Cabernet Sauvignon - Winemaking (2)

Traditionally, in Bordeaux, the maceration process lasts for three weeks, which allows the producer to take some time off after the harvest. As a result of this extended maceration period, the wines produced are very tannic and flavorful, requiring years of aging. Producers who want their wines to be available in a few years can shorten the maceration period by a few days.
Once the maceration process is complete, Cabernet must undergo fermentation at temperatures above 30°C. The temperature at which fermentation occurs is crucial for the final product, as higher temperatures yield stronger flavors and darker colors, while lower temperatures yield fruitier flavors. In Australia, the use of carbonic maceration has been explored to create smoother and fruitier Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
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When producing Cabernet Sauvignon, it is essential to consider its tannic character. If the must is left for a longer maceration period, it will extract more tannins from the skins, resulting in a higher tannin content in the final wine. However, if winemakers prefer to prolong the maceration period to enhance color and flavor intensity, there are ways to decrease tannin levels.
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A technique often used in the winemaking process is aging in oak barrels. This involves exposing the wine to different levels of oxidation, which can help decrease the tannins from the grapes and add smoother oak tannins.

When attempting to reduce the tannins in wine, it is important to consider the use of clarifying agents such as egg whites and gelatin. These agents have a positive charge that attracts negatively charged tannin molecules, causing them to bind and be removed during filtration.
Another technique that can be used is microoxygenation, which replicates the gradual aeration process during barrel aging. Limited exposure to oxygen can contribute to the polymerization of tannins, resulting in softer, larger molecules that are more pleasing to the palate.
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