The Impact of Adding Chardonnay Lees to Aging Red Wine (2017)

This study examines the impact of adding chardonnay lees to aging Cabernet Franc wine on mouthfeel and aroma. Cabernet Franc wine was cleanly racked into 3 separate, identical barrels on December 29, 2017 so that very little lees were transferred. Then: 1) one barrel received no addition of Chardonnay lees, 2) one received 1 liter of Chardonnay lees, approximately 1.02E6 cells/mL (Low NTU), and 3) one received 3 liters of Chardonnay lees, approximately 3.06E6 cells/mL. Lees were light lees, harvested from Chardonnay wines fermented with D254. The yeast in the lees were budding under microscope, and so 90ppm of sulfur dioxide was added to the lees before adding to barrel. The wines were stirred once every two weeks until taken for sampling in late March, 2018. No major wine chemistry differences were apparent between treatments. Sulfides were all similar between wines, with some differences in Dimethyl Sulfide. Microbial cell counts were generally higher in wine with lees additions. Color intensity was slightly lower in wine with lees added. Phenolic profiles were very similar, with perhaps a slight decrease in tannin with lees addition. Overall, low lees addition had a slight tendency to increase Fruit Intensity. Lees addition in general seemed to slightly lower Astringency. However, many of these differences were weak, and differed between tastings. The lees addition wines were generally more preferred over the control wine. This suggests that lees addition to red wines can be of benefit to red wine quality. More research with more rigorous sensory analysis is needed to further clarify what aspects of wine sensory characteristics are impacted by lees addition.

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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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