LIOCO: Sweetheart of the Sommeliers
Named one of Wine & Spirits “Top 100 Wineries of the Year” LIOCO is the product of founders Matt Licklider and Kevin O’Connor who are fueled by a relentless search for meticulously farmed cool-climate vineyards in the Sonoma Coast. LIOCO reigns at Danny Meyer’s The Modern and Union Square Cafe. We caught wind of a blind tasting that took place earlier this year, hosted by a group of Meyer’s somms in which this 2016 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay came out on top — crushing 14 other American Chardonnays and earning a coveted by-the-glass placement. There is simply no better Burgundian-styled mineral-driven California Chardonnay for the price.
Why have sommeliers who have their pick of the world’s best bottles — wine directors at places like French Laundry, RN74, Husk, and Chez Panisse — become so enamored of LIOCO Chardonnay over recent years?
Husband and wife team Matt and Sara Licklider follow a strict Burgundian, non-interventionist protocol, and win sommelier converts from San Francisco to NYC by tasting them one-on-one. Their approach has resonated beyond the somms, impressing The New York Times’s Eric Asimov, who puts LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay in a class with wines priced well into the next tier.
2016 was “a spectacular year for Chardonnay,” according to Mat, due to the even ripening. LIOCO picked some fruit in mid-August, which gave the wine some acidic “snap.” Two more weeks of hang-time imbued the remaining fruit with what Licklider terms “gobsmacking deliciousness.”