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2011 Littorai "Cerise Vineyard" Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1167398 92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 From a high-altitude site in Anderson Valley, the 2011 Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard is one of the wilder wines in this range. A deep, almost inky red, the Cerise shows the more animal side of Pinot in its game, tar, smoke, black pepper, licorice and black cherries. This is also one of the most powerful wines of the 2011s, but at the same time I find less elegance than in some of the other offerings. Firm, powerful tannins support a dark, brooding finish laced with Syrah-like overtones. (AG)  (4/2013)

93 points Vinous

 The 2011 Pinot Noir Cerise Vineyard is one of the more tannic, structured wines in this range. Dark red and purple hued fruit, violets, menthol and hints of game all take shape in the glass. This broad-shouldered Pinot could use another year or two to soften a bit, but it is gorgeous today just the same. (AG)  (2/2014)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Medium red. Pungent aromas of raspberry, minerals, tea leaf and forest floor. A spicy, aromatic midweight with modest body but impressive thrust and high-pitched perfume. Finishes classically dry, with a note of peppery stems. Is this fleshy enough to reward aging?  (5/2013)

K&L Notes

Littorai derives their unique sustainable farming techniques from the fertile cross currents of permaculture, agro-ecology and the agricultural philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, the father of biodynamic farming. In addition to using only natural materials, they avoid all fertilizers. Estate produced compost is their “fertilizer” of choice. For those sites which they do not farm themselves, they use by-the-acre contracts to insure maximum quality and vineyard control, and they strongly encourage all of their farmer-partners to use only organic materials. They do not employ farm certification systems, as they believe that the true motivation for engaging in sustainable farming practices should not be for marketing purposes, but should be only for the good of the land, for the good of those who work it and for the future generations to whom it truly belongs. The portion of the Cerise vineyard planted for Littorai sits on a steep, rocky slope directly in the fog layer that frequently hangs above Anderson Valley. The winery notes that yields are "painfully low...and the intensity of the wine reflects this."

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Price: $79.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Anderson Valley/Mendocino

- Cooled by the nearby ocean and the seemingly omnipresent bank of oceanic fog, this picturesque wine region is home to a wealth of cool-climate grapes like riesling and gewürztraminer plus chardonnay and pinor noir, which are responsible for impressive and intense sparkling wines.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.1