The Effect of Different Sources of Lees and Lees Products on Aging Cabernet Franc Wine (2016)

This study examines the impact of adding different sources of lees to aging Cabernet Franc wine. Cabernet Franc wine was split into 5 barrels with the following treatments: 1) no lees addition, 2) 2 pints of Chardonnay lees added, 3) 2 pints of Viognier Lees added, 4) Laffort Autolees added, and 5) AEB Batonnage Elevage added. The wines were stirred once every two weeks until taken for sampling (in February). Wine chemistry did not differ between treatments. The sulfide profile did not differ at the limit of detection of the laboratory analyses. All treatments slightly lowered color intensity and increased hue, except for the AEB Batonnage treatment, which increased color intensity and decreased hue. In the first tasting, the Control and the Laffort Autolees treatment strongly increased Fruit Intensity, but this was not replicated at the second tasting. There were weaker tendencies between tastings, however. Lees which originated from wine (Viognier and Chardonnay Lees) appeared to have a consistent impact on the aroma of the wines, whereas lees which originated from products had less impact on wine aroma. An exception would be the AEB Battonage Plus treatment, which appeared to increase Herbaceous/Green qualities. The AEB lees tended to have the largest impact on Astringency. No major preference trends could be seen. These results were very mixed, likely due in part to the complexity of the project. This project produced interesting results, and more work on the impact of lees management in red wines should be done before drawing hard conclusions about these different lees sources. Stylistic possibilities of adding aromatic white wine lees to red wine should also be considered in future studies.

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