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LIOCO Winery

Owner(s) Matt Licklider, Kevin O'Connor
Web site www.liocowine.com
 
Link to this site
LIOCO Winery

Sommeliers know wine and understand how the components of wine can act in unison to compliment and enhance the experience of dining. They sense exactly the kind of wine that makes food sing. It is no surprise, then, that sommeliers have begun to launch their own labels, crafting wines that reflect their food sensitivities and their vast background in tasting fine wines. Many have establish close relationships with growers and winemakers through the years, making it comfortable for them to gain access to established expertise in the wine business. Some of the most notable sommeliers who have become winemakers include Rajat Parr of the Michael Mina Restaurant Group, John Lancaster of Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco, and Kevin O'Connor of Spago Restaurant in Los Angeles.

O'Connor predates the current surge in sommelier winemakers, having made wine for years under the O’Connor label. Beginning with the 2005 vintage, he teamed with former North Berkeley Imports wine importer Matt Licklider to found the LIOCO label to produce vineyard-designate Pinot Noir along with stainless steel fermented vineyard-designate Chardonnay and a Carignan/Petite Sirah blend. LIOCO is a combination of the partner’s last names. O’Connor works closely with University of California Davis trained winemaker Kevin Kelley (Salinia, Heintz Vineyard) to produce non manipulated site-driven wines.The Chardonnays fermented in steel and the "barely naked" Pinot Noirs are interesting. In 2006, Pinot Noirs have been produced from several vineyard sources including the Hirsch Vineyard, Michaud Vineyard and Klindt Vineyard. A new bottling, "NoCo," was introduced in 2010 which is a value-priced offering ($19). The name is an acronym for North Coast.

LIOCO is a “virtual” winery making wines at a facility in Santa Rosa. Production is 11,547 cases. Tastings are available by appointment at the winery every Friday and Saturday from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and occasionally at other times by arrangement. LIOCO Wines are available on the website at select restaurants, and fine retail wine stores. The winery business office is located at 11151 Missouri Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025 and the phone is 310-717-1892.

Reviewed Wines

2012 LIOCO Indica Mendocino County Rosé

12.0% alc., $17.95, screwcap. Sourced from a mid-century planting of dry-farmed and head-pruned Carignan in Mendocino’s Redwood Valley. Soils are red clay punctuated with fist-sized rocks. Berries were broke and whole cluster pressed to stainless steel tank. Fermented cool and finished bone dry. Long, slow malolactic fermentation. Gentle filtration. · Light pink-orange color and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of strawberry, orange peel, rose water and yellow peach. Very refreshing with crisp flavors of watermelon, strawberry, and Mexican lime. Light on its feet with cleansing acidity on the finish which shows a lingering aroma of watermelon rind and lime juice. A superb domestic rosé that, when chilled, is a perfect accompaniment to smoked salmon or shellfish. Score: 89. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 LIOCO Estero Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.36, TA 0.65, $35. Harvest Brix 22º. Grapes are grown in Goldridge soils from cooler Russian River Valley sites and include clones 4, 17, 95 and 96. Berries broken before whole cluster pressed. Fermented on lees with battonage for 8 months in large neutral oak barrels. Natural MLF, gentle filtration. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Shy, clean aromas of lemon curd and mixed nuts. Tasty but lean flavors of citrus, baked apple, white grape and stony minerality. Juicy and fresh, but not exuberant and lush like many Russian River Valley Chardonnays. Some may find the wine too delicately flavored while others may welcome the discreet style. Score: 88. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 LIOCO La Marisma Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.64, $45. Harvest Brix 23º. The vineyard is near the town of Aptos and is a south facing, hillside site 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Soils are sand and calcerous marine deposits with ideal drainage. Diurnal temperature fluctuation is 40+º.After intense hand sorting, the berries were broken before whole cluster pressed. Wild yeast fermentation in neutral oak, natural MLF, aged 10 months on lees in barrel and 5 months in tank. · Medium golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Really nice array of aromas including fresh banana, baked pear, exotic honey, and fermented melon. Some richness and slightly creamy, with flavors of lemon curd, baked pear, roasted nuts, burnt caramel, pastry cream and lees. This wine is very unique and presents some flavors that defy description. I like it for its uniqueness and composure. Score: 91. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 LIOCO Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.64, $50. Mt. Eden, Pommard and 114 clones planted in the early 1980s at 1100 to 1400 feet 3.5 miles from the coast on the second ridge in calcerous seabed soils. Harvest Brix 22º. 40% whole cluster. 5-day cold soak, wild yeast fermentation lasting 21 days. Aged 16 months in 20% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Vigorous aromas of wild berries, balsam, forest floor and bark. Both fruity and savory on the palate with a discreetly concentrated core of raspberry, strawberry and blueberry fruits backed by firm tannins. Very silky on the palate with a delectable riff of berry fruit and herbal salad on the finish. Score: 90. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 LIOCO Klindt Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.85, TA 0.57, $50. This vineyard is located in the cooler deep end of the Anderson Valley. Sandy clay loam soil with fractured rock. Farmed by Bob and Claudia Klindt. Pommard, 115, 667 and 777 clones co-fermented with wild yeast. 30% whole cluster. Harvest Brix 22.4º. 18-day fermentation, aged 16 months in 20% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · The nose is exotic and intriguing, featuring aromas of dark red cherries and berries including strawberries, dried rose petals and Nutella spread. Two days later the wine had become even more aromatic, taking on notes of grilled mushrooms with intense scents of spice and bright red fruits. Flat-out delicious on the palate with layers of dark red cherry and berry flavors enhanced with a dollop of exotic spice and toasty oak. The sweet, sappy mid palate attack is attention-grabbing and the finish is fruity and generous. There is a firm backbone of tannin that should integrate with more time in the bottle. A special offering that should age beautifully. Score: 94. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay

12.6% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.66, $35. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks, no oak, wild yeast, natural MLF, 6-month fine lees contact without fining or filtration. Wente clone on original rootstock planted in 1982 at 1600 feet above the Anderson Valley. Shallow clay over fractured rock leads to low yields. · Light yellow color and very slightly cloudy in the glass. Aromas of spiced pear, honey, gardenia and ocean air. Very light and transcendent in the mouth with flavors of Meyer lemon, green apple, and nori, finishing tart and lemony. Picked at low Brix to produce a lean, acidic style. Very good (-). Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.66, $35. A mountain top vineyard at 1600 feet elevation. Wente clone on original rootstock planted in 1982. 40 degree diurnal temperature swings, late harvest dates, low yields. Whole cluster pressed and cold fermented in stainless steel only. Wild yeast fermentation and natural MLF. Aged 6 months with fine lees contact. Unfined and unfiltered. · Faint straw color in the glass. Aromas of canned peaches, green apple and hay bale. Crisp and minerally flavors of green apples, lime and lemon, and pear, with a nutty note in the background. Bright acidity, slightly tart, with an hi-strung finish. Would have liked some oak on this fruit. Good (+). Note: I really like the back labels of LIOCO wines which provide all the information you want with no fluff. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 LIOCO Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.61, $60. 40% whole cluster, wild yeast 18 day fermentation, aged 12 months in 1, 2 and 3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate purple-red color in the glass. This wine shows some acetaldehyde (rotten apple core) aromas and flavors after initially displaying aromas of dark strawberries, Asian Five Spice, and black raspberries. The flavors echoed the aromas initially but a spiced, oxidized apple flavor developed over time. A flawed bottle. Unsatisfactory. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $20, screw cap. Fermented in stainless steel sur lie for 5 months, wild yeast, 100% MLF. · Straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemons, ocean air and brioche with a little funkiness that persists in the glass. The flavors trump the aromas with tasty baked apple, pear, dark toffee notes. Slightly creamy with bright acidity. Good. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 LIOCO Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.71, $35. Clones 115 and 667 from vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. 7-day cold soak, 20% whole cluster, wild yeast fermentation, aged 11 months in neutral oak, unfined and unfiltered. · Heavy scent of crushed black cherries and allspice. A bit tart and lean for my taste with a blast of citrus on the dry finish. Improves some over time in the glass and I would recommend pounding it in a decanter and drinking it with food. Decent. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 LIOCO Graham Family Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.2% alc., $40, screw cap. · Penetrating and haunting aromas of red plum, red berries, violets and graham. Lip smacking hedonistic core of sweet red berries that are nicely spiced. The attack is impressive and the fruit is startling good. This is a perfect sipping wine, the fruit hanging around on the finish for at least half a minute. Very Caliesque and atypical for the LIOCO style. The alcohol is well-integrated and the wine was still drinking well the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating spot on balance. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $19, screw cap. Fermented in stainless steel with wild yeast, 100% MLF. Aged in tank sur lees for 5 months. Unfined and unfiltered. · Scents of apple, lemon, honey, yeast and popcorn. Luscious and full-flavored with fruit that seems to jump out in the mouth. The essence of Chardonnay with flavors of pears, honey, nutmeg and nuts. Smooth and perfectly balanced. Best value in California Chardonnay on the market. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.5% alc,, $20, screw cap. Fermented in stainless steel using wild yeast. Aged in tank 5 months on lees. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Pale yellow color with slight haze in the glass. Aromas of lemons, honey, yeast and popcorn. Luscious and full-flavored with bright crunchy fruit that jumps out of the glass. Accents of roasted nuts, pears, honey and nutmeg add interest. Smoothly textured with bright acidity. The essence of Chardonnay. Good (+). Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc., 225 cases, $35. The Demuth Vineyard is situated at 1,600 feet above the floor of the Anderson Valley. Wente clone is own-rooted in 1982. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermentation in stainless steel with wild yeast, natural MLF. 6 months lees contact. Unfined and unfiltered. No oak. · Terrific aromatics flashing ripe pears, green apples, warm cookies and graham. The flavors are reminiscent of a warm apple tart, with hints of apricot and toast. Smooth and creamy with a lively citric acid lift on the back end. Fresh and very bright. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.58, 225 cases, $35. Stressed Old Wente clone on original rootstock grown on rocky mountainous soil. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermented in stainless steel (no oak), wild yeast fermentation, 6 months sur lies, unfined and unfiltered. Demuth Vineyard was planted in shallow clay over fractured rock at 1,600 feet to the Wente clone on original rootstock in 1982. Daily temperature fluctuation at this site is 40 degrees. Harvest occurred 14 days later than the Anderson Valley floor. · Golden yellow color in the glass. Alluring aromas of lemon curd, ripe pears, and wet rocks. Very delicious flavors of poached pears, ripe citrus fruits including pineapple, and light caramel set off by an underlying minerality and a lively spark of acidity. Bright, vivid and a delight to drink especially at this moderate alcohol level. This is an exceptional vineyard and the wine shows it. I have tasted this wine multiple times at home and in restaurants and it is one of my favorites from California in this vintage. I have bought this wine for my personal cellar. A steal at this price point. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.81, 160 cases, $35. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermented, no oak, wild yeast fermentation, natural MLF, aged 6 months sur lie in stainless steel, unfined and unfiltered. · Golden yellow color in the glass. Complex aromatic profile offering scents of crushed rock, papaya, lychee, petrol and smoke. Discreetly rich and slightly viscous with flavors of lemon peel, white peach, Asian pear and melon. The wine’s modest acidity reflects a warmer site. Very good. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 504 cases, $35. From a vineyard near the Napa/Sonoma border exposed to cool winds and fog from San Francisco Bay. 7-9-day cold soak, 16- day fermentation in open-top tanks, wild yeast, aged 12 months in neutral barrels, unfined and unfiltered. · Lovely perfume of plums, currants, spice and a whiff of oak. An impressive wine that captures the essence of dark stone fruits and grapes. I was captivated by the purity of this wine and the generous finish that lingered for over twenty-seconds. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 504 cases, $38. Harvest Brix 24.6º. 7-9-day cold soak, 16-day fermentation in open top tanks with wild yeast. Manual punch downs. Aged 12 months in neutral barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. Sourced from an unnamed vineyard near the Napa/Sonoma County line. · Profusion of plums, currants, oak and spice on the nose. Very tasty dark fruits that show impressive purity. A perfectly balanced wine that captures the essence of the fruit with a finish that lingers for at least 20 seconds. Crafted by a sommelier, it is not surprising that this is a superb food wine. Very impressive and one of the best wines and most reasonably priced Pinot Noirs I have had from Carneros in recent memory. Reviewed June 16, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Henni’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.74, 45 cases, $45. This vineyard is in a cool site in Green Valley, planted densely (4’ x 4’) on Goldridge soil. This wine is from the first harvest at this vineyard (“Virgin Vintage”). 7-day cold soak, long (19 days), cool wild yeast ferment in open-top tanks, manual punch downs, aged 12 months in once used oak barrels, unfined and unfiltered. · The aromas of berry tart, Asian 5-spice, and warm brioche really come at you from the start. Would make a very sensual perfume. Pure flavors of red berries and cherries, pomegranate, spice, and a subtle Concord grape note. Unencumbered by oak flavors and tannins, this wine is both exotic and erotic. Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Klindt Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.80, 265 cases, $45. Released in the winter 2009. Clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard co-fermented, partial whole cluster fermentation, aged 12 months in 1, 2 and 3-year-old French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Very appealing scent of gregariously spiced black cherries. Richly fruited but discreet, spotlighting black raspberry fruit. Very tasty, soft in the mouth with impeccable balance and a lively, lingering finish. The fruit really shows a vivid purity in this wine. Reviewed June 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Klindt Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.80, 265 cases, $45. A diverse mixture of clones. · Nicely nuanced nose showing aromas of black cherries, balsam, spice and melon. Tasty core of cherries and berries with a touch of spice, savory herbs, pine tar and savory herbs. Clean, smooth, nicely balanced, and opens smoothly over time in the glass. Very good (-). Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Michaud Vineyard Chalone Monterey County Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 346 cases, $45. Wild fermentation, 10-day cold soak, manual punch downs, aged 12 months in 1-, 2-, and 3-year-old French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. Sourced from a remote hilltop site at 1,600 feet in the Pinnacles National Monument. An extreme microclimate with daily temperature swings of 40 to 60 degrees. Granite and limestone soils. · Strong aromas of plums, tea, oak, smoke and ground savory. Juicy and concentrated black fruits with an earthy underpinning finishing with a tasty raspberry kiss. Better later in the day from an opened bottle.. A masculine Pinot that will stand up to hearty foods. Will have fans. Very good. Reviewed December 16, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Michaud Vineyard Chalone Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.77, 343 cases, $48. This vineyard is located at an elevation of 1,600 feet on granite and limestone soils. The climate is extreme, with 40 to 60 degree diurnal shifts, resulting in stressed vines. 10-day cold soak, aged 12 months in 1, 2, and 3- year-old oak barrels, unfined and unfiltered. · Deeply colored. Appealing, even ridiculously sensual aromas of warm cherry tart, tea, ground savory and dark roses. Flavors of loamy black cherries and berries, spice and grilled mushrooms. A sweet and sour thing is going on with the fruit. Silky and smooth with healthy ripe tannins yet a charming elegance. Amazing persistence of berry fruit on the generous finish. This wine will stand up to hearty foods. Very good (+). Reviewed August 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Michaud Vineyard Chalone Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.61, 343 cases, $48. The vineyard is located on a remote hilltop 1600 feet elevation with huge daily temperature swings. Granite and limestone soils. 10- day cold soak, native fermentation, aged 12 months in 1, 2 and 3-year-old French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple color with slight haze in the glass. Very ripe dark berry fruit aromas augmented by scents of shoe box, oak, and brier. Very flavorful cherry and red berry fruit under a thick blanket of tannin, persisting on the lengthy finish. A cola and spice note add interest. Still drank nicely two days after opening from a re-corked bottle. A wine with soul and vivid expression of site. Very good. Reviewed May 15, 2011 ARTICLE »

2006 LIOCO Klindt Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 118 cases, $45. This hillside site is 11miles from the Pacific Ocean. Soils are sandy clay loam and fractured rock. Very cool climate. · This wine speaks of the soil. Aromas of earth, smoke, grilled mushrooms, plum reduction sauce and a faint whiff of alcohol. Very earthy and darkly fruited with delicious black raspberry jam bringing up the finish. Moderate tannins and bright acidity. Rustic but in a good way. Needs full-flavored dishes such as grilled lamb chops. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 LIOCO Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 256 cases, $60. The Hirsch Vineyard is the defining Pinot Noir site of the Sonoma Coast. Located 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean at 1,100 to 1,400 feet on several ridge tops, the complex calcareous seabed soils provide a unique expression of Pinot Noir. This wine is from Mt Eden clone. · Oh Boy, put on your seat belts. Fairly modest in color, but delivering a transcendent drinking experience. The nose is brimming with fresh Bing cherry and cinnamon toast perfume. A refined style that is yet vigorous with flavors of dried cherries accented with toasty oak, savory herbs and spices. Elegant and silky, with gossamer tannins and admirable acidity. The balance is spot on. David Hirsch must be proud of this wine. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »