Sur lie is a process in which wines are aged on the lees, which are the sediment of mostly dead yeast cells and grape particles that accumulate during fermentation. The method, which is used to make certain white wines, can increase complexity, body and mouthfeel and sometimes adds a yeasty or nutty flavor to the wine. While sur lie aging is traditionally associated with muscadet production in France, it’s also used in other countries and with different grapes. The following are two examples of New Zealand sauvignon blanc that have been aged on the lees. Both would go well with chicken, fish and seafood, herb-driven sauces, and asparagus.
Three Brooms 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
Bought • The Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Boulevard, in April for $15.99.
Description • Produced and bottled with minimal intervention, this elegant sauvignon blanc underwent up to four months of bâtonnage, the term for stirring lees back up into the wine. Fresh and clean, it’s an aromatic medium-bodied white that has the characteristic flavors of New Zealand sauvignon blanc including grapefruit and limes. It’s a beautifully balanced wine with a mouthwatering, zesty acidity that keeps you coming back for more.
Mount Fishtail 2020 Sur Lie Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
Bought • The Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Boulevard, in April for $14.99.
Description • Mount Fishtail, a family-owned vineyard in the Wairau Valley, took its 2020 sauvignon blanc in a new direction by aging it on the lees for four to six months. The result is a bold, medium-bodied wine that’s quite intense and complex. It has a rich mouthfeel and is less acidic than the Three Brooms. This is a strongly flavored, herbaceous wine that’s almost savory. It tastes of passion fruit and citrus and ends with a long, minty finish.
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