Lees refers to deposits of dead
yeastor residual yeast and other particles that precipitate, or are carried by the action of " fining", to the bottom of a vatof wineafter fermentation and aging. The yeast deposits in beer brewing are known as trub. However, yeast deposits from secondary fermentation of beer are referred to as lees.
Normally the wine is transferred to another container (
racking), leaving this sediment behind. Some wines, (notably Muscadetand Rémy Martin), are sometimes aged for a time on the lees (a process known as " sur lie"), leading to a distinctive yeasty aroma and taste. The lees may be stirred ("batonnage" in French) in order to promote uptake of the lees character.
The lees are an important component in the making of
Ripassowhere the left-over lees from Amaroneare used to impart more flavour and colour to the partially aged Valpolicello.
"Sur lie" literally translates from the French as 'on lees', lees being the
yeasty residue remaining in the caskafter fermentation. 'Sur lie' wines are bottled directly from the lees without racking(a process for filtering the wine), giving an added freshness and creaminess to the wine. Muscadetis made in this fashion.
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