2019 Littorai B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Chardonnay

2019 Littorai B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Chardonnay

¥15,840 (incl. tax)

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The B.A. Thieriot Vineyard is planted on a ridge, 350 m above the town of Occidental, in Sonoma County. While maritime winds are strong and fogs chilly, the vineyard is protected by an even higher ridge to the north. Farming the site with a long-term lease, Littorai uses organic and biodynamic methods and no irrigation. Yields are minuscule – less than three tons per acre  – yet the grapes consistently produce Chardonnay that’s bracing, intense, energetic, and pure. 2019 began with significant rainfall lasting into late spring, which meant irrigation wasn’t required. The summer was moderate to warm, with cooler temperatures settling in in September. While the vineyards required a lot of attention, the quality is shaping up to be excellent. In the winery, the Littorai team decided to add some crushing to its regime of whole-cluster pressing Chardonnay. But since they don’t own a crusher, feet were employed to tread the grapes while still in the picking bins. The Thieriot Chardonnay is made only from the free run and lightly-pressed juice, which is racked to barrel for native yeast fermentation. About this wine, the winery said, “On the palate, this is, as usual, tighter and more linear than either Charles Heintz or Mays and it possesses a touch of phenolics which lends a pithy quality to the finish. Crackling acidity on the finish. This is all about precision and length.”

Winery


Winery Description

Ted Lemon is a winegrower, not a winemaker. Winegrowing implies that careful and conscientious farming is the primary step in crafting wines that express their terroir. Littorai was founded in 1993 after Ted and Heidi Lemon took an epic wine tasting tour from Walla Walla, Washington, to Santa Barbara in search of a spot that would yield great Pinot Noir. They became convinced that Northern California coast offered the best potential. Littorai’s wines have since become the benchmark for a new style of California Pinot Noir that strives to be a “wine of place.” These wines are lighter in color and alcohol and less extravagant and ripe, but strikingly fresh, pure, and vibrant – aromatic and flavorful without being weighty or opulent. Burgundy was an early influence on Lemon. He studied enology at the Université de Dijon, apprenticed at several Burgundy houses and was appointed head of Domaine Guy Roulot in Meursault – all by the age of 25! But though Burgundy has been a model for Littorai, it was never a template. Instead, he lets the terroir of his vineyards suggest how best to cultivate them and craft their wines. These vineyards are located along the littoral, the coastal edge of California, on rugged hillsides in the Anderson Valley (Mendocino County) and along the Sonoma Coast. Here ocean fogs bless the vines with an extended growing season, but more importantly, the soils are so diverse (as a result of the area’s turbulent geology) that even nearby vineyards can produce wines of different aroma, flavor and ageability. Littorai focuses on single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but also makes two appellation bottlings with those barrels or vineyard lots that do not meet the highest standards. Littorai owns just one estate vineyard (The Pivot, near Sebastopol), but sources the rest via “by the acre” contracts or long term leases that allow Lemon to plant and work the vineyards as he pleases, even if the yields are tiny. A firm believer in biodynamie, the estate operates an integrated farm, with vineyards, pastures, and woodland combined into one holistic unit, but even the non-estate vineyards are farmed organically without any fertilizers beyond vineyard compost. Winemaking involves fermenting the Pinot Noir with some amount of whole clusters in traditional open-top fermenters with natural yeasts and without (or with very little) sulphur or other additives. The wines age in (partially new) French oak for up to 16 months. If rich, mouth-coating, opulent black fruit is what you expect in a California Pinot Noir, Littorai’s wines may provoke a surprise. Prepare for floral and red fruit aromas, vibrant flavors, fresh acidity and a tannic structure that will allow the wines to develop and blossom over the years.

About this Wine


Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Sonoma Coast
Winery Littorai
Vintage 2019
Color White
Varietal(s) Chardonnay
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 29.5
Case Size 35.0 x 27.0 x 30.5
Alcohol 13.0%
Product Code LT19TC
UPC NONE
MLF 100%

Owning & Enjoying


Tasting notes

Chamomile, lemon verbena, and fennel emerge as the wine opens; the palate is medium-bodied and focused with a core of mouthwatering pineapple and white grapefruit leading to crackling acidity and minerality on the finish.

Production


Vinification

Made without any cultured yeasts or additives, the wine aged 11 months in French oak (25% new) with an additional 5 months in stainless steel to allow it to settle down.  

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