Lieu Dits are all over France. It means “said place,” or “named place” and is a way to name a single, unblended site that has distinct attributes without being an official cru or AOC. It stems from France’s land register and is much more agile and flexible than something like a climat in Burgundy, which is a historical vineyard name born out of 2,000 years of debate and scrutiny.
Here in the US, Lieu Dit Winery is something altogether different! Sommelier and wine retailer Eric Railsback (RN74, Michael Mina, Osteria Mozza, Les Marchands, Verve) joined forces with winemaker Justin Willet (Tyler Winery, Arcadian, Wenzlau) to launch the project in 2011. Together they aim to highlight Loire varieties grown in the cool microclimates and marine-based soils of Santa Barbara County. These grapes are native to a cooler part of France, and naturally achieve ripeness at lower sugars, resulting in a style of wine that is right in our wheelhouse:
- Lieu Dit’s Cab Franc comes from a block of massal-selection own-rooted vines planted in the Happy Canyon Vineyard on the eastside of Santa Ynez Valley. This vineyard’s clay loam soil and warmer microclimate develops intense flavor at lower sugars. The fruit is partially whole cluster fermented via native yeast and aged in neutral oak barrels, leading to a fresh, Loire-like style.