300 N. 12th Street, Unit 4A
Lompoc CA 93436
0 ac – 30,000 bt
Coin Prize – awarded to wineries whose wines represent excellent value.
Eric Railsback and Justin Willet became friends after college while working in Santa Barbara’s wine industry. Justin began his own wine brand, Tyler, when he was only twenty-four. Eric worked as sommelier for the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Michael Mina. He later opened Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. The duo teamed up to create Lieu Dit with a specific focus: to make elegant, pure, and balanced wines using the grapes of the celebrated Loire Valley in France.
Eric and Justin purchase their fruit from contracted vineyards, as is common in Santa Barbara, where most land parcels are sold at a minimum of 100 acres. This hefty minimum for land purchases helps to protect open space, explains Justin, but this makes it tricky for the little guys to buy land. Eric and Justin work closely with their grape growers and are thus able to dictate much of what happens in the vineyard. All their fruit comes from sustainably farmed land.
It is as enjoyable to meditate on Lieu Dit’s wines as it is to drink them. The Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is heady and complex. It has a flinty minerality and a bouquet of starfruit, mint, and yellow clover blossoms. The Cabernet Franc 2016 has a lovely veil of eucalyptus and green pepper, draped over a deep plum and blackberry core. The Gamay 2016 is quaffable yet complex due to 100% whole cluster fermentation. Fragrant rose petal aromas melt into crushed ripe strawberries and a crunchy bramble undertone. Chenin Blanc 2016 (Slow Wine) Ethereal, like bottled light. Green guava, jasmine, fennel, and electric lemon light up the palate with a racy acidity. Enjoy it now or cellar it for longer aging.