Master Sommeliers Geoff Kruth, Emily Wines and Yoon Ha take questions on blind tasting.
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Nice podcast addressing some very interesting questions in the subject!
Jonah. Just weighing in here on the subject of battonage. It is as Geoff states, a complex subject. Any kind of lees / wine contact during the elevage would be considered as promoting a reductive environment and you are right that yes, this would include increasing the potential to create reduced sulphur flavours components. Moving the lees around during the elevage assists in reducing the tendency for H2S to build up in the layer of sedimented lees.
However there are different ways of doing this. The classic method for barrel matured wines is to remove the bung and use a manual tool inserted into the barrel to stir up the lees. This could be considered a vigorous oxidative handling technique and has created many concerns especially in Burgundy that it could be a contributing factor to the premox phenomenon. So of course now as can be seen in many cellars in both the old and new world, barrels are resting on roller racks which allow gentle lees agitation without the need to remove the bung, stirring and thus reducing the redox potential.
Old school battonage could therefore be considered as potentially oxidative whilst modern lees stirring definitely reductive.
In larger vessels such as stainless steel tanks lees contact creates a reductive environment and methods such as lees stirring with paddles or blowing nitrogen through a tank valve to disturb the lees would have little oxidative effect.