California, california USA

In 1992, the Lemons travelled the length of the west coast of the United States looking for the best sites suited to 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 and site-specific 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 studied the works of Rudolf Steiner, who believed in individual responsibility, 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. Their wines are made with minimal intervention in order to allow the site to truly express itself in the glass. In Ted’s own words, “there is little place for winemaking in our style of production.”

The single vineyard Chardonnays represent 15% of Littorai’s total production. Only the free-run juice is used, which then undergoes wild yeast fermentation and 12 months ageing in French oak barrels (20% new). These wines are rich and precise with mouth-watering acidity.

The regional blend Pinot Noirs are produced from declassified single vineyard lots, as well as the press wines from these sites. The Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir displays complex floral and spiced notes, and firm tannins. ‘Les Larmes’ is supple with fine-grained tannins and bright acidity to temper its juicy fruit core.

The single vineyard Pinot Noirs incorporate 25-40% whole bunch, depending on the site and vine age, and are matured for 15 months in French oak barrels (20-25% new). Planted in 2010, ‘Wendling Vineyard Block E’ is Littorai’s youngest site. Its steep, south-facing slope is protected, making the wine aromatically expressive. Located at 150 metres above sea level, on a south-facing slope, The Pivot vineyard surrounds the winery. The wine expresses this site’s trademark elegance and purity. The Hirsch vineyard has aromatic complexity with layered notes of rose, orange zest and forest floor, countered by precise acidity. The Haven vineyard is Littorai’s original estate vineyard and Ted considers it one of his Grand Crus. Its diverse greenstone, sandstone and shale soils result in a poised wine with intense spice aromatics, vibrant acidity and finely-structured tannins. ‘One Acre’ is Littorai’s highest elevation vineyard at 488 metres above sea level. There is a richness on the palate with mouth-coating tannins balanced by taut acidity.


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