By Kori ~ February 1st, 2011.
This week’s Wine Word of the Week is maceration.
Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Maceration is an ancient word for steeping a material in liquid with or without a kneading action to separate the softened parts of the material from the harder ones. This important process in red wine-making involves extraction of the phenolics (tannins, colouring materials, or anthocyanins, other glycosides, including flavour precursors, and non-glycosylated flavour compounds) from the grape skins, seeds, and stem fragments into the juice or new wine. Some maceration inevitably takes place in the fermentation vessel. It is governed by temperature, contact between the solids and liquid and the degree of agitation, time, and by the composition of the extracting liquid, in this case the grape juice as it becomes wine.
Layman’s terms from Kori:
Maceration is the red winemaking process in which color, tannin, and flavor components are extracted from the skins of the grape.
Filed under: Wine Word of the Week