Maturation Options for the Winemaker

Lees ageing and reduction

Lees aging is a reductive process, while battonage is generally a process of oxygenation, and both contribute to flavor profile. Lees aging can add textural complexity to a wine, but can become reductive if heavy lees remain at the bottom of a barrel or tank for months without stirring. This can lead to the formation of off aromas of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) as the lees decompose. To prevent this type of reduction, battonage introduces oxygen to the lees and discourages the formation of H2S compounds. Winemaker Dominique Lafon notes that while small amounts of oxygen are introduced during battonage, the lees are suspended and will consume most of the oxygen prior to settling. Therefore, while battonage is a process of oxygenation, it’s also a process that protects against oxidation.

  • Accredited to:
  • M. Lai