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`B.A. Thieriot Vineyard` Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Sonoma County, California

Littorai

Husband and wife team Ted and Heidi Lemon are behind this family run winery, established in 1993...

Ted began his career in Burgundy and has worked for some of the region‘s top estates including Domaine Guy Roulot in Meursault where he was winemaker and vineyard manager, the first American to ever hold such a position in Burgundy! Heidi has similarly worked for some of California‘s top producers including Robert Long Vineyards and Stag‘s Leap Wine Cellars. The Lemons‘ mission with Littorai was to find the best spot to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay along the littoral (coastal) zones of the U.S.A. They searched the west coast before finally finding their top spot in the ‘true‘ north of California - the coastal mountains of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. All the vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since 2001 and there is minmal intervention in the winemaking.

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Vineyards

The B.A. Thieriot Vineyard is located to the southwest of Occidental at 275 metres above sea level on a south facing slope. It is protected from the northwest winds and fog by a ridge to the north. Farmed biodynamically, the 18 year old vines are vertical trellised and the vineyard entirely dry farmed. Soils here are Gold Ridge loam.

Vintage information

2011 was a very cool summer compared to normal. Flowering was late, in the second half of June for all sites. The fruit set was very modest with many sites producing very small, seedless berries. While such berries are great for wine quality due to the large skin to juice ratio, they dramatically reduce yields. During the first two weeks of September, the fog intrusion began to retreat as temperatures rose with lovely weather. Early October was marked by two significant rainfall events. Only on the 14th of October did a drier, warmer pattern begin again. The exceptional quality of the 2011 Chardonnay is due to patiently waiting for true ripeness and better weather.

Vinification

The fruit was hand-harvested and whole cluster pressed on arrival at the winery with the heavy press juice separated out. The juice was then 90% barrel fermented in 25% new French oak barrels with the remaining 10% fermented in stainless steel tank. Full malolactic fermentation took place in barrel and the wine spent a number of months on its fine lees in stainless steel before bottling.

Tasting Notes

Thieriot Vineyard is the most mineral-driven of the 2011 Chardonnays. The minerality is accompanied by flavours of acacia blossom, citrus, quince, nutmeg, and hazelnut. Austere in its youth, it will pick up a bit of weight with time in bottle.

Vintage information

Vintage 2011
Grape varieties 100% Chardonnay
Region Sonoma County, California
Winemaker Ted Lemon
Certification Biodynamic 
Alcohol (ABV) 13.1%
Acidity 5.5g/l
Residual Sugar 0.1g/l
Wine pH 3.41