2021 LITTORAI Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard

LITTORAI Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard

¥21,560 (incl. tax)

The Charles Heintz Vineyard was planted in 1982 and is farmed organically. Just a few miles from the ocean, it sits at an elevation of 250 m on a rolling plateau that is cooled by ocean fogs and breezes but also warmed by air rising from the Santa Rosa Plain. The high elevation protects the vineyard from spring frosts; buds break early, resulting in a longer growing season that encourages ripening without accumulating sugar. Littorai has made wine from the same rows of vines since 1995. About the 2021 wines, the winery writes they are “floral wines with very good richness, like their 2020 brethren, and excellent freshness. The initial palate impression is of richness but this yields to a muscle core of acidity. They have more than sufficient concentration for aging, but like 2020 have excellent charm for those who prefer to drink Chardonnay very young.


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 2021
Color White
Varietal(s) Chardonnay
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 30.0
Case Size 35.5 x 27.0 x 31.0
Alcohol 12.7%
Product Code LT21HC
MLF 100%

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

98 points – James Suckling; 96 points – Jeb Dunnuck; 96 points – Wine Advocate. 

Aromas and flavors of stone fruit, orange zest, lemon, and pear with hints of new wood. Bracing acidity gives the wine a finish that seems to last forever. 



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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