DEFINING LIEU DIT
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 Melon is a textbook example of their style. While many California white wines will have you rattling off tropical fruit flavors and leave you searching for more savory nuance, this Melon harkens to sur-lie-aged Muscadet showing upfront minerality, acid and texture.