Sur Lees Aging

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Senior Member
Feb 21, 2010
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Does anybody know if Sevyal blanc or Chardonel wines benefit from a Sur Lees Aging process?
It should. After the gross lees are removed allowing whites to rest upon the sur lees will soften and add a flavor to the wine. You should stir it at least once to blend it. It will settle again.

Most of my reds also contain a small amount of fine lees on top of the oak. One month before bottling I will rack it off of the oak allowing the wine to blend with itself then bottle later. This way I will have 5 gallons of all the same taste wine per batch.
What are you referring to when you say Gross Lees?

I thought that Sur Lees Aging was taking the sediment that would contain the yeast cells and mix it up - as the yeast cells will impart a certain flavor but also as they break open they impart a fuller body as they release polysaccarides into the wine.

From what i understand polysaccarides by definition are a long chain of sugars which give way to a fuller body to the wines.

So once fermentation is complete in secondary - instead of racking - wouldn't i just stir it back up at that time?
Gross lees are all the heavier particles that aren't good to keep your wine on. When you rack a wine that is dry, 1.000 or less (after primary fermentation) you will be leaving behind the gross lees. There will still be alot of yeast suspended in the wine that will be your fine lees when they drop out of suspension as the wine ages in the carboy. Since the fines lees are mostly only yeast there is less chance of getting off odors or flavors in your wine.

I had chardonel vines for 5 years and can say that sur-lie aging can be a good thing to try if you want increased mouthfeel.
Perfect - so basically i still rack from primary to secondary where i let it finish fermenting - once done fermenting - then rack again and let age. The lees i get from that point on is what i will stir back in while bulk aging.

Is that correct?
I agree with Racer as almost all wines can benefit from this but this is not to be confused with Battonage which is the act of stirring the lees into suspension very often for a few weeks.
I agree with Racer as almost all wines can benefit from this but this is not to be confused with Battonage which is the act of stirring the lees into suspension very often for a few weeks.

K - so now i am confused - what is the difference - aren't both methods stirring the lees back into the wine?
I was doing some reading and sur lie is the process of just aging the wine on the lees instead of racking off.

Battonage is the process of stirring the lees back into the wine a few times a week for 3-4 weeks - then let sit for 2 weeks and then rack.

For the chardonel and seyval wines - which technique is more beneficial?
Sur lees would be good for almost every wine, Battonage would be really good for aChardonnay like wine where you ant that buttery effect.
Cool - so if bulk aging with the lees - and you add in k-meta every 3-4 months - do you stir the lees back up - or stir gently enough to not disturb the lees?
Dissolve the k-meta in some warm water or extracted wine and then genyly add back only stirring the top.
Cool - and i am assuming that this should be done the entire time bulk aging is going on?

From what i read - it is racked off this and bottled - is this correct?
I would say it depends on how long you are bulk aging and I would also fair to say that there has to be a limit where this can go south and back fire on you. I wouldnt go too far past around 3-4 months but am no expert on this, just playing it on the safe side.
I have read that we home wine makers shouldn't try to do sur-lie and battonage because it is too easy to contaminate or aid a contamination in starting in a wine by trying to do those things to a wine. I beg to differ with them though.

Here's what I do when I sur-lie age a wine.

I always sanitize my spoon and all other utensiles I'll use in the wine before each time that I do stir up the yeast(battonage).I draw off some wine and put it in a container so I can return it back to the carboy later.Sample the wine to see if it has reached the extra mouth feel that your looking for. If it hasn't I try to stir up all the lees every 2 weeks but am very careful not to come into contact with the yeast bed at the bottom of the carboy. Just gentle fanning,no stirring to the point of starting a vortex in the wine. Once the wine is good and cloudy with the yeast back in suspension I make sure the wine is topped up and then leave it alone for another 2 weeks.

Wade has a good suggested end point but I have and will do longer times if the wine hasn't shown the increased mouth feel I'm looking for. Usually by the time 6 months on the lees has come along I can usually taste a yeasty flavor start to show up in the wine. If that happens I will rack off the wine at that time. If at any time an off flavor or aroma does show up it is really important to rack the wine off the lees instead of losing it to other problems.
Thanks for the replies - it sounds like an interesting technique that can definitely benefit the overall taste and aroma of the wine. I am going to try this out on my chardonel and possibly the seyval this year.

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