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Something Leesy | The Wine Virgin
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Something Leesy

March 4, 2008

Would you please tell me what leesy means? - Martha in Crandon, WI

Leesy is a term referring to when a wine maker lets the wine sit on the lees for a longer period than normal during the wine fermentation process. As a primer, for those newly christened virgins out there, wine lees are a sediment consisting of dead yeast cells and other solid matter such as grape pulp etc.

Some wines are aged for a time on the wine lees which is a process known as sur lie and from there gives way to the term “leesy”. This produces a distinctive yeasty aroma and can actually give the wine extra flavor and body. Eventually the lees must be removed by racking the wine. As the sediment collects at the bottom of the container the wine is siphoned or poured off into a clean container before it is finally bottled.

If the wine sits too long on the lees if can ruin the flavor and aroma but most importantly, leaving it sit too long without racking will allow the formation of hydrogen-sulfide gas, this basically yields a smell like rotten eggs and after that you may as well just throw it out.

When you sit down after a long day to enjoy a glass of your favorite wine, stop to think about all the time and effort that has been invested in creating this wonderful elixir and really let your mouth savor all the aromas and flavor that high quality wines bring.

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