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Carbo Takes A Dip

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Higher Ed

Carbo Takes A Dip

by Aaron Ayscough

Illustration by Nishant Choksi.

Who says there’s no winemaking in natural wine? Small-scale natural winemakers are employing a novel twist on carbonic maceration, and while it has no name, they’re loving the results. Aaron Ayscough reports from France.

Since establishing his winemaking operation in 2011, the reclusive vigneron-négoçiant Daniel Sage has pioneered a curious and novel winemaking method: a twist on carbonic maceration that is gaining fans among like-minded natural winemakers with each passing vintage.

In his isolated winery in a 1000m-altitude hamlet in the Haut-Loire, Sage gently vats whole-cluster grapes, before filling the remaining space in his vats with unfermented direct-press juice. The direct-press juice seals the whole-cluster grapes from air contact, effectively substituting for the role of CO2 in a standard carbonic maceration. He thereby achieves much of the fruitiness and minimal extraction of a carbonic maceration, with, arguably, less intervention.