Name a process during winemaking that gives white wine a more creamy mouthfeel.

A. Sur Lie Aging

B. Extended Maceration

C. Diacetyl

D. Barrel Fermentation


Sur lie is French for “on the lees,” and refers to the practice of leaving wine in contact with yeast lees (decomposed yeast cells). The broken-down yeast cells release proteins and other compounds that then interact with the wine. In particular, proteins will bind with tannins in the wine—a good thing since tannin can make white wine feel coarse. By aging a white wine sur lie, the impression of creaminess is heightened. Flavor compounds are also released by the lees, and wines aged for a long time sur lie can take on nut, bread, and yeasty flavors. Because they are heavier than the wine around them, yeast lees will slowly settle to the bottom of the barrel. Left packed together and undisturbed for a long time, they may form foul-smelling sulphur compounds. To prevent this, the lees are often stirred back up into solution—a process called bâtonnage in French. A wine may be left sur lie for weeks or months; it’s up to the winemaker.

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