Exceptional Chardonnay from World’s Top 100 Winery
LIOCO is no longer a new kid on the block. For 15 years, they’ve sourced the best fruit from Sonoma and the Russian River Valley, and today are making wines that put them in the realm of Littorai, Hanzell, and Patz & Hall. Today’s 2017 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay is a perfect example, with its focused citrus energy, lifted white floral notes, and savory minerality expressing the essential character of one of the world’s great Chardonnay regions while still offering an immediate appeal that doesn’t require years to strut its proverbial stuff. No wonder LIOCO has been a Wine & Spirits “Top 100” winery, and remains a staple on high-end wine lists across the United States: Honest, terroir-specific, joyous wine like this should be celebrated. At $19.99 this is the definition of a steal.
Fifteen years after bootstrapping his way into high-end winemaking, LIOCO earned a coveted spot among Wine & Spirits magazine’s Top 100 Wineries in the world in 2017. Their story is repeated by a stunning roster of restaurants—Michelin 3-star temple The French Laundry, their 3-star Healdsburg neighbor SingleThread, and The Little Nell in Aspen among them—that feature their wines.
“We’re Danny Meyer’s favorite Chardonnay,” Licklider told us. Little wonder. The LIOCO model is simple: Great vineyards, done right. “We’re not into fancy winemaking,” Matt explained, “We’ve worked hard to get into exceptional vineyards, and we stand behind them.”
The 2017 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay, with bright citrus energy, just-picked pear and golden apple flavors, and dazzling freshness embodies everything that has made LIOCO a favorite at Wine Access, and a darling among America’s top sommeliers and Chardonnay collectors alike. A blend of three vineyards—the biodynamic Teac-Mor, Stuhlmuller, and Littorai neighbor Goldridge—each site could easily stand on its own at twice the price. Together, they deliciously characterize Sonoma terroir.
Today, Lioco has become a go-to name for some of the most terroir-expressive Chardonnays in California. Their reputation has officially eclipsed its charming founding story, embodied best by LIOCO’s new tasting room on the town square in Sonoma County’s new gourmet Mecca of Healdsburg, where, just steps away, Michelin 3-star darling SingleThread offers a half-dozen LIOCO wines.
The swanky location notwithstanding, some things have not changed at LIOCO, especially the fierce desire to avoid what Licklider considers the chief follies of California Chardonnay: boring soil and over-irrigation. "Ever eat a tomato that's red but has no taste?” he asks. “Chances are it got too much water. We look for dry-farmed, older vineyards, and for sites on the fringe: places where the vines have to struggle to get ripe. It's a risky proposition, but when the stars align, the wines can really dazzle you."
This wine does just that.