Winemaker of the Year: Congrats Ted Lemon of Littorai Wines
on 27/12/10 at 7:10 pmWine
Photo: Littorai Winery
The simple version of Ted Lemon’s story: Young American goes to Burgundy. Becomes first American to run a Burgundian wine estate. Comes back and stays true to Pinot’s motherland.That would be the easy version, but it misses a crucial fact. For a quarter-century, Lemon has been hunting along the remote California coast, seeking places that speak absolutely of their roots and making wines that purely reflect a California sense of place.
“Being a slave to Europe is as much a mistake as saying that super-ripe California is a great expression,” Lemon says. “You’ll never hear what the land is saying if you just say, ‘In Europe, they do this.’ ”
Few winemakers are as committed as Lemon to the sanctity of California terroir. He is a true believer in its potential – specifically in the ability, along a coastal stretch of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, to find unique sites for exceptional grapes. His quest provided the name for the 4,000-case winery he and his wife, Heidi, founded: Littorai, a plural for the Latin of “coasts.”
Littorai wines are among the purest, most long-lasting expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the New World. They have earned Lemon a reputation not as a Burgundian interpreter of California, but as a true American master. It is why Ted Lemon is The Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year.