A very common mistake that I see, over and over again, is the statement of “Sur Lees Aging.” This is incorrect usage of the process.

One “lie”

Sur lie is a process of aging. It allows for a wine, when it’s finished fermenting, to sit on the lees while flavor is extract. When the wine is aging on lots of these tiny yeast cells (lees), it’s called the Sur Lie process.

Many “lees”

Lees are the residue of dead yeast cells, which form in wine during fermentation. Lees may also contain grape seeds, skins, and tartrates, until that’s separated from the wine by the process of racking.

Sur Lie Aging

When a wine is sur lie aging, you can see layers of fine lees in the wine. There are three separate layers in this barrel image that I took. It demonstrates many layers of lees, just before they’re stirred. Lees have a milky look to them in the barrel.

There are two different types of lees

  1. Grape lees come from the fruit
  2. Yeast lees come from the yeast

Each kind of lees can be used in sur lie aging, and each produces different results. It’s a winemaker’s call what happens in the winemaking process, just as chefs add different ingredients. Winemakers play around with lees, when they age Sur Lie.

Sir Leigh? IBDb ~ The Da Vinci Code ~ Perhaps Sir Leigh drank wine that was aged sur lie, after the lees were filtered away.

Sir Leigh Teabing KBE is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and the 2006 film based upon it. In the film, he was portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen. Teabing is a British Royal Historian, a Knight of the Realm, Grail scholar, and friend of Harvard professor Robert Langdon. Independently wealthy, he lives outside Paris in a château called Château Villette with his faithful butler Rémy Legaludec.