Carbonic maceration is a process that is widely practiced in which French winemaking region?
The wine Beaujolais (the region of the same name in France) is made using carbonic maceration. The process enhances fruity aromas and fruity flavors in the wine. This, along with gamay grapes, gives Beaujolais its distinctive and expressive fruitiness. During this process, entire clusters of grapes (often hand-harvested so that the clusters are rot-free and perfectly intact) are put whole into the fermenting tank. The grapes on the bottom, crushed by the weight of the grapes on top, release their juices, which immediately starts fermenting naturally due to wild yeasts on the grape skins, bathing the grapes on top in carbonic dioxide gas (a by-product of fermentation). Those top-layer grapes eventually explode from the pressure of CO2, exposing them to yeasts in the tank and thus causing them to ferment as well. Carbonic maceration could theoretically be used with any grape, but it is particularly successful with ultra-fruity grapes like gamay.