Three decades ago, in 1982, the French Champagne house Deutz planted the first vineyards on the Laetitia estate property, and began producing sparkling wine under the name of Maison Deutz. The property went through a few itierations before being purchased by current owner Selim Zilkha. Zilkha had previously founded a wind power development company and was a champion of environmental sustainability, a subject gaining traction throughout the world wine community. Within a few years, the estate property was SIP (Sustainability in Practice) certified, becoming one of a growing number of vineyards employing ecologically sound growing practices.
The estate grapes have their own appellation, the Arroyo Grande Valley. All of the Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and sparkling wines are estate grown. A new label, Nadia, specializes in other varietal bottlings sourced from vineyards sources in Santa Barbara County.
I had the opportunity to sit down with winemaker and President of Laetitia, Eric Hickey, and Sales and Marketing Coordinator Jackie Ross. As we tasted through a selection of wines, Hickey reflected on the vintage, the grape clones, the soils in the vineyard, and the weather at time of harvest. All of these factors influence the flavor profile of the grapes, and the resultant wines that are produced.
Without turning this into a scientific tract, let me just say this – the quality of the wines coming from Laetitia at this time are the highest I’ve seen. Even in the rain-marred 2011 vintage, the wines show pleasing qualities, and no detracting characteristics.
Like winemaker Eric might say, I think it is better to let the wines speak for themselves. Click through to see the reviews of their current release wines.
For more information about Laetitia Vineyard and Winery, you can access their website here: http://www.laetitiawine.com/