: the sediment of a liquor (such as wine) during fermentation and aging : dregs

Examples of lees in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Made from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes that were hand-harvested throughout the summer before aging on the lees for eight months in French oak barrels (30% new), it's loaded with light and sunny flavors. Hudson Lindenberger, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2023 It is aged for three to five years on the lees which results in great complexity and richness on the palate. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 20 Dec. 2022 Cava de Paraje Calificado is a single-vineyard cuvée aged on its lees for at least 10 years. Dave McIntyre, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2022 Fermented from rice, water, Sake-Kasu (the lees that remain after pressing Sake; these can still contain fermentable elements), rice-koji, and anything else accepted by law. Elsbeth Sites, Discover Magazine, 29 Apr. 2014 There are Japanese versions leavened with sake lees and Brazilian ones stuffed with dulce de leche; supermarket minis that cost $2 and truffled ones that fetch nearly $200. Julia Moskin, New York Times, 19 Dec. 2022 The Cava Brut designation means it was aged a minimum of nine months on the lees. Dave McIntyre, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2022 That process of using cork stoppers for aging on lees helps give the Champagne a distinctive flavor. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 15 July 2022 Comprised of nearly 80% reserve wines, with select components aged on lees for up to 25 years, the new blend is 52% chardonnay and 48% pinot noir, with 20% comprised of wine from Heidsieck’s 2016 vintage, cellared in 2017. Lela London, Forbes, 5 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lees.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English lie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin lia

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lees was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near lees

Cite this Entry

“Lees.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lees. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


noun plural
: the settlings of liquor (as wine) during fermentation and aging : dregs
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