Lieu-dit is a French term for a small geographical area bearing a traditional name. The name usually refers to some characteristic of the place, its former use, a past event, etc. In winemaking circles, a lieu-dit has come to mean the smallest piece of land which has a traditional vineyard name assigned to it and in typical usage translates as “vineyard name”.
In this case, Lieu Dit is a partnership of longtime friends Eric Railsback and Justin Willett. The two met in Santa Barbara while Eric was finishing college and Justin was just beginning his career in winemaking. The two were among a small group of young winemakers and restaurateurs in Santa Barbara unified by a common interest in wine and all its mysteries. Both are sommeliers, one of them a star of the new documentary Somm, teach the basics of Santa Barbara’s wine by focusing on three components: grape variety, alcohol level and age.
Lieu Dit 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez
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Winemaker Notes: “Fruit for this bottling is sourced from three different vineyards from the eastern edge of the Santa Ynez Valley in the AVA Happy Canyon: Grassini, McGinley, and Star Lane. The soils across the three vary with sand, shale and gravel at Star Lane and heavier clays with larger yellow and red chert, and serpentine rocks at both McGinley and Grassini. The fruit is always picked on the early side, whole cluster pressed into tank and then fermented in both stainless steel and in neutral barrels. After fermentation, all lots are put into neutral barrels through the winter before being racked a few months prior to bottling. The finished wine is mineral-driven, focused, and racy style that speaks more to Sancerre than to the riper, richer styles typical of California and other warmer climates.”
Vinous: The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is explosive, rich and full of flavor, with all of the energy and layers of nuance that make Sauvignons from Happy Canyon so distinctive. The 2017 was fermented in steel and aged in neutral oak. Vineyard sources are Happy Canyon Vineyard and McGinley.
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