Maceration sounds a whole lot like massacre doesn’t it? Well it is a massacre.. of grapes – a glorious one at that.
Macerate literally means softened by soaking. In the context of wine making, maceration is a vital process used by wine makers to extract aroma, tannins and color from the grape to the wine by soaking grape skin, stem, pulp and seed together. FYI this process determines the tannins (partially) and if the wine turns out to be white , red or pink (like how I would like to see the world).
Grape varietal, temperature during maceration, duration and type of maceration plays a substantial role in the intensity, color and of course the taste of the wine. For example, a Cabernet Franc has thinner skin than a Malbec grape from Argentina which means more time is needed to infuse the color into the wine. With that being said, the time frame of letting the bits soak together is ultimately dependent on the wine makers.
Think of it as a bag of Oolong tea steeping in hot water for 10 min and a bag of Sencha steeping in hot water for 5 minutes.That ‘siap-ness’ in your mouth is exactly comparable to the level of tannins present in wines due to Maceration!