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Laetitia Vineyard & Winery

Owner(s) Nadia Wellisz, Selim Zilkha
Web site www.laetitiawine.com
 
Link to this site
Laetitia Vineyard & Winery

Laetitia has a colorful history going back to 1982 when French winery Champagne Maison Deutz first planted vineyards in the Arroyo Grande Valley six miles south of Pismo Beach. In 1997, Jean-Claude Tardivat purchased the vineyards, renaming the estate Laetitia after his daughter. One year later, the winery was sold again to a partnership that included Selim Zilkha. In 2001, Selim and his daughter, Nadia Wellisz, became the sole proprietors.

The estate vineyard comprises 1,888 acres, with 620 acres currently planted to grape vines, making it the largest privately owned Pinot Noir plantings in California. Pinot Noir is the most widely planted variety (434 acres), followed by Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Tempranillo, Syrah, Pinot Gris, and a small amount of Riesling. The Laetitia label focuses on Pinot Noir.

Winemaker Dave Hickey, started at the vineyard when it was still Maison Deutz in 1990. He now oversees the sparkling wine production and his son, Eric Hickey oversees production of Laetitia's still wines.

Laetitia wines may be purchased at the winery’s website or at the tasting room in Arroyo Grande on Highway 101 which is open daily from 11:00 to 5:00. The winery's estate Pinot Noir is value-priced and consistently fine with each vintage. There is also a Reserve bottling and two excellent single-vineyard wines - La Colline and La Galets. Production is about 45,000 cases of still wine and 7,000 cases of sparkling wine annually.

Reviewed Wines

NV Laetitia Arroyo Grande Brut Cuvèe Sparkling Wine

12.5% alc., pH 3.1, TA 0.82, $22. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc grapes. Whole-cluster pressed and tank fermented using Champagne yeast. Crafted in Méthode Champenoise tradition. 24 months en tirage. · Pale gold color in the glass with a fine bead. Bright aromas of apples, pears, honey, roasted nuts and vanilla. The flavors follow in step with a crisp, tightly wound offering of green apple, Asian pear, and lemony wafer goodness. Bone dry and lively, displaying a bright nerve of acidity. Very Good. Reviewed September 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2012 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $25. The Laetitia Estate Vineyard is a coastal terrace 3 miles from the ocean. Soils are rocky clay loam with a volcanic ocean floor parent material. A blend of 10 clones including 113, 115, 459, 667, 777, “828,” Pommard 5, 2A, Martini 13 and Mt. Eden. Aged in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels for 11 months. Estate grown, produced and bottled. · Moderate reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, plum, boysenberry, white pepper and spice box lead to a light weight core of fruit mimicking the aromas, with hints of spice, mocha and smoky oak. Mild tannins and very approachable, finishing on a light, fruity note. Score: 87. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.62, 27,240 cases, $25. Harvest Brix 23.6º-26.1º. Clones 113, 115, 459, 667, 777, “828,” Pommard 5, Wädenswil 2A, Martini 13 and Mt. Eden. De-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, quick fermentation lasting 4 days, aged for 11 months in 30% new and 70% neutral Francois Frères and Rousseau French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Sweet aromas of spiced raspberry, cherry, strawberry and a hint of vanilla. An easygoing, very flavorful mid weight wine with polished tannins. A red fruit brigade is featured with plenty of spice, finishing with a flourish of slightly tart red cherries. Eager to be enjoyed now. Widely available in the retail marketplace. Score: 89. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Laetitia Reserve Du Domaine Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.61, 1,200 cases, $40. Harvest Brix 23.8º-26.8º. Composed of fruit that is given a longer hang time on the vine and a longer period of aging in oak. It is the winery’s Tête de Cuvée representing the paramount of the vintage. Aged 11 months in 40% new and 60% neutral French oak barrels. Clones 115, 667, 459, “828,” Wädenswil 2A and Martini 13. · Gorgeously composed nose of black cherry black raspberry and spice aromas. Concentrated and strapping, with layers of chewy black cherries and dark berries, yet refined and polished with impeccable balance for the long haul. The finish delivers loads of extended pleasure. This wine has the backbone to age well into ten years but is irresistable now. Score: 92. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Laetitia Whole Cluster Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.59, 420 cases,$40. Harvest Brix 23.8º-26.8º. 45% whole cluster maceration and fermentation. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Better be sitting down when you drink this knock out wine. Copious aromas of black cherry, spice, rose petal and other exotic flowers. Reminds me of a classy woman’s perfume. Seamless and sensual on the palate, offering a festival of spiced black cherries and black raspberries with perfectly integrated tannins and acidity, and a long, supple finish that leaves an impression. Everything good about whole cluster is exemplified in this beauty that has that magical je ne sais quoi that makes people go ga-ga over some red Burgundies. Score: 95. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Laetitia Estate Whole Cluster Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 330 cases. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is really captivating, featuring aromas of black cherries, rose petals, exotic spice and Snicker’s bar. Rich, sweet-edged, sappy core of dark red and black fruits with an intense finish. A very sexy wine that displays exquisite balance. Outstanding. Reviewed July 21, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.663, $18. Dijon clones 96 & 97, Wente 17 and 4. Whole-cluster pressed and 100% MLF. Aged 9 months in 25% new and 75% neutral French oak barrels. · Very light straw color in the glass. Shy aromas of baked apple lead to medium-weight delicate flavors of Asian pears, lemon and green apple. Restrained in character but satisfying. Nicely avoids prominent oak and oak-derived flavors so common in California Chardonnay today. A solid pick. Good (+). Reviewed September 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2010 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.615, 18,000 cases, $25. Released January 12, 2012. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, quick fermentation, aged 11 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very aromatic upon opening, offering clean scents of black cherries and black raspberries with hints of dark chocolate, bark and prune. The flavors veer to the overripe side but never cross the line, offering tasty notes of plump dark cherries and berries with a savory mushroom and earth undertone. Silky smooth on the palate with modest length on the bright finish. The longer the wine was in the glass, the better I liked it. An excellent value with wide availability and one of the more consistently reliable Pinot Noir bottlings in the marketplace. Good (+). Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Laetitia Reserve du Domaine Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., ph 3.77, TA 0.623, 1,200 cases, $40. Released January 12, 2012. Composed of the most concentrated estate fruit that is given more hang time on the vine and a lengthier time in oak. The wine is a blend of 60% of the same consistent vineyard blocks while the remaining 40% are special lots that stand out with the vintage. Clones are 115, 667, 459, Pommard 5, Wädenswil, and Martini 13. Aged 11 months in 40% new and 60% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose picks up intensity and romance over time in the glass revealing very enticing aromas of perfectly ripe blackberries, clay and forest floor. Delicious, rich core of black cherry and blackberry fruits with a riff of cherry cola on the generous, very slightly hot finish which has noticeable length. The tannins are rather reserved making for good drinking now. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.592, $25. Multiple clones including 113, 115, 459, 667, 777, 828, Pommard 5, 2A, Martini 13 and Mt Eden. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, quick fermentation. Aged 11 months in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of spiced berries, black cherries, cassis and prune, persisting in the glass over time.The palate is all Pinot with riper flavored fruits featured including dark red raspberries and cherries, embellished with a hint of Asian spice, and clothed in soft tannins. Smooth in the mouth with an underlying nerve of acidity that brightens the fruit. This bottling is a consistent performer with good value. Very Good. Reviewed September 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Laetitia Clone 828 Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $32. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Opens slowly in the glass, revealing aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, prune, spice and oak. Soft and smooth on the palate, with moderately rich flavors of dark red cherries and berries with a topcoat of toasty oak. Nicely balanced with firm, but well-integrated tannins. Good. Reviewed November 7, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Laetitia Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.62, 220 cases, $60. Released September 12, 2012. Sourced from original estate plantings. Only made in exceptional vintages. The name, La Colline, means “the hillside” in French. 4-day cold soak, whole berry fermented in small open top fermenters with the addition of RC212 yeast. Gently pressed after 6 days of fermentation and racked into 30% new French oak barrels for an aging period of 11 months. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very accessible aromas of baked plum, berry pie glaze, musk and oak. Delicious middleweight melange of blue and black fruits, most noticeably raspberries. Very polished and refined on the palate with impeccable balance (no oak or tannin in sight). A slight underlying minerality adds interest. Pleasing persistence and length. A very regal wine that is approachable now, but will benefit from further bottle age. Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Laetitia Single Vineyard La Coupelle Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.57, 290 cases, $60. Released September 12, 2012. La Coupelle means “the cup” in French. From a protected block located below Les Galets that receives maximum sunlight and is shielded from the cool winds of the Pacific Ocean. Soils are diablo clay and volcanic rock. · Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. A bit shy, but does offer delicate aromas of dark Bing cherries, raspberries and mushrooms on the grill. Dense, robust flavors of dark berries that exhibit a mouthfilling presence. Notes of cola and dark chocolate arrive as well. Juicy, with firm tannins and modest length on the finish which is a little hot. Good (+). Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Laetitia Single Vineyard Les Galets Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.55, 276 cases, $60. Released September 12, 2012. Les Galets means “the stones” in French. From low-yielding blocks picked from early to mid October. 65% Dijon clone 115, 35% Wädenswil clone 2A. 4-day cold soak, whole berry fermented in open top fermenters with the addition of RC212 yeast. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Deeply colored, earth-kissed fruits are featured in this wine which is discreetly concentrated and long in the mouth, with refined, svelte tannins and a vivid, lengthy finish featuring spiced black plums. The fruit has character and noteworthy class. This wine is approachable but still youthful. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Laetitia Brut Rosé Arroyo Grande Valley Sparkling Wine

12.5% alc., pH 3.08, TA 0.975, 802 cases, $28. Released September 12, 2012. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were fermented with Prise de Mousse traditional Champagne yeast and stored in stainless steel while the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. It was then racked and filtered and blended with only the brightest, least tannic, lowest alcohol lots of barrelaged still Pinot Noir. Bottled in the spring of 2009 and kept en tirage for 36 months. The still wine component is aged in mature French oak barrels. · Pretty rose-pink color in the glass. Great bead. Lovely aromas of red berries, rose petals and pastry cream. Delicious core of moderately rich tasting red strawberry, cranberry and red raspberry flavors with a hint of pink grapefruit. Dry and uplifting, finishing with some length and a lasting, slightly tart note of citrus-laden berries. I get excited for great Brute Rosé, and this wine is a sublime example. Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2007 Laetitia Reserve du Domaine Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc.. A barrel selection, estate grown, bottled and produced at Laetitia. From a cool site 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean that is sustainably farmed. Clones 115, 667, 459, 2A, Pommard 5, and Martini B. Aged 11 months in 40% new and 60% neutral oak barrels. Eric Hickey is the winemaker. · Dark reddishpurple color in the glass. Very appealing aromatics offering black cherries, strawberries, spice, rose petals and a little ocean air. Luscious core of dark berries and strawberries with hints of earthy loam and cola. Rich and full-bodied but retains a charming appeal. Mild tannins make for easy drinking. A bold wine that makes a statement and attracks your attention. Very good. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Laetitia La Colline Old Vine Martini Clone 12 Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

Lovely aromatics of wild berries and cherries. Black cherry flavor core with earthy highlights. Lively acidity. Reviewed March 23, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Laetitia La Colline Young Vine Clones 459, 667 Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

More leafy and more oaky on nose. Charming dark Pinot fruits with smoke accents. More tannin evident. Reviewed March 23, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Reserve Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

2,200 cases, $40. This is reliable Central Coast producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wine who has fared well in past Pinot Summit events. Available now from the winery’s website. · Restrained but pleasant dark berry and cherry pie aromas with a healthy core of well-spiced black cherry and blackberry fruit that fans out nicely on the palate and finishes with persistence. Very user-friendly. Reviewed April 18, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Estate Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 5,000 cases, $25 (sold for as little as $18 in some retail stores). The clonal blend for the 2005 vintage is 30% Martini and 70% Dijon 115, 667, 777 and 2A. The growing season was mild allowing for ripe flavors at relatively low sugar levels. Yields were 2 to 2.5 tons per acre. The wine was aged for 8 months in 30% new French oak barrels. This is the first of the 2005 vintage from the Central Coast that I have tasted, and if any indication, this should be a terrific and even landmark year for Pinot Noir from this region. · This Pinot is dark violet in color. The charming aromas and flavors feature plums, black cherries, earth and spice. There is plenty of structure to appeal to those who prefer a bigger mouth feel, but the overall impression is one of sexy silkiness. Nicely balanced so easy to cozy up to now. How do they do this for $25? Reviewed May 22, 2006

2004 Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Laetitia Vineyard Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

440 cases, $65. Laetitia has a colorful history going back to 1982 when Champagne Deutz first planted vineyards in the Arroyo Grande Valley. Since 2001, the winery has been under the ownership of businessman Selim Zilkha and the wines have starred ever since. The current winemaker, Eric Hickey, has been at the helm since 1990. The wine may be purchased at the winery’s website: www.laetitiawine.com. · This Pinot is nicely perfumed with spicy cherries and floral notes. A little cinnamon candy peaks out as well. Elegant and soft, the palate is all Pinot with emphasis on finesse over fruit heaviness. This finish is clean and zippy. Reviewed January 22, 2007 ARTICLE »