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Glossary

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Extraction

The process by which pigment, tannins and flavor and aromatic compounds contained in grape skins are dissolved into wine. Extraction is most commonly achieved through maceration (soaking the skins of the crushed grapes in the wine after fermentation), during which alcohol helps dissolve flavor, aroma and especially tannin molecules—as with a steeping tea bag, the longer and warmer the maceration, the greater the degree of extraction. During fermentation, punching down the cap (floating layer of skins, seeds and stems) and pumping liquid from the bottom of the tank over the cap (pump-over) are other methods of extraction. For reds made in lighter-bodied styles such as Pinot Noir, a pre-fermentation cold soak of the skins in the grape juice can extract water-soluble flavor and pigment molecules while limiting the amount of more alcohol-soluble tannins released into the wine.

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