California, california USA

Heidi and Ted Lemon are behind this family-run winery which was created in 1993. Ted began his career in Burgundy after earning an oenology degree at the Université de Dijon in 1981. He has worked for some top Burgundian estates, such as Roumier, Bruno Clair, Aubert de Villaine and Domaine Dujac. Ted's skills earned him a position as winemaker and vineyard manager at Domaine Guy Roulot in Meursault, making him the first American ever to manage a Burgundian estate! His winemaking prowess also earned him the affectionate nickname ‘Le Comte Citron’ – the crowned lemon on all of the Littorai bottles is a reference to this. Heidi's path to farming was inspired by living and working in Germany following college and her subsequent work at several wineries in California, including Robert Long Vineyards and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

In 1992, the Lemons travelled the length of the west coast of the United States looking for the best spot to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They finally found their spot in the 'true' north coast of California - the littoral (coastal) zones of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. This region was not known for premium viticulture at the time, but Ted was convinced that the varied soils and moderate climate with cooling fog would provide the ideal environment to make elegant expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Today the majority of the sites are farmed biodynamically and all sites are farmed using only organic materials. Littorai does not use certification systems. Having thoroughly studied the works of Rudolf Steiner, who believed in individual responsibility as part of the biodynamic philosophy, Ted finds it hard to reconcile the fact that becoming certified would involve conceding some of his responsibility to external auditors, who cannot know and understand the sites as he does.

2018 was an outstanding vintage according to Ted: “Few are the vintages which please all palates, but 2018 does just that. It is a classic vintage for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the true North Coast of California. There is no better indicator of winemakers’ opinions of a vintage than how many cases they stash away in their personal libraries. At Littorai we will be cellaring as much of every 2018 wine as we possibly can.”


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