White Lees... a spur of the moment idea.
In 2004, Winemaker Mike Brown was emptying some freshly fermented white wine out of new French oak barrels. Left behind in the barrels were the remnants of yeast called ‘lees’. Normally the lees are discarded, emptied out and the next wine put in.
Whilst rolling the first barrels to empty them, Mike happened to taste the lees in a tub and found they had extraordinary flavour. They were fluffy, crunchy, and looked very ‘alive’ and healthy. His immediate thought was how could these be put to good use?
He decided to transfer Shiraz into the French oak barrels on top of the white lees. Over 28 months the barrels of what became known as ‘White Lees Shiraz’ were regularly stirred or ‘batonaged’ to integrate the two components.
The white lees have acted as a preserving agent, protecting this wine from normal aging characteristic resulting in a wine of remarkable quality.