Wine & Spirits 96
"Lioco winemaker John Raytek blended this from two sites planted on sandy Goldridge soil: Teac Mor, a low-lying vineyard near the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain, the other on Burnside Road, higher up in the western hills and closer to the coast. This has a tight, stony structure that speaks of those spare, sedimentary soils, and perhaps also of the yield-reducing drought that affected the 2014 vintage. It feels potent, mineral and even a bit gruff at first, taking four days of air for its woodsy cherry flavor to clarify, turning plump and lush, yet cooled by a spicy lavender aroma. It’s a Sonoma pinot noir that could stand up to lamb loin, and will improve with five or more years in bottle. (900 cases)."
AROMA bay laurel, wet slate, pomegranate
FLAVOR cranberry, forest floor, oolong tea
FOOD PAIRINGS roasted squab, abalone, prosciutto and figs
VINIFICATION 15.7 tons hand-harvested & sorted on Aug 28, Sept. 2 & 7. All clones co-fermented (15% whole cluster) in open top fermenters using both wild & cultured yeasts. A 5-day cold soak preceded regular cap management during the 12-16 day fermentations. Aged for 11-months in 15% new oak. Settled for 1-month in tank prior to bottling.
SITE From a selection of premier Sonoma Coast vineyards including Teac Mor & Goldridge. Pinot Noir clones Pommard, 777 & Jackson planted in gravelly loam soils known locally as Goldridge, in modest elevations of +/- 200 feet. Defining features of this complex region include the omnipresent Pacific Ocean, its coastal forests & the fog-catching Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed.
NOTES Technically the third straight year of drought, vintage 2014 was the first year we actually felt its presence in the vineyard. With the crop reduced by 30% from the previous year and a growing season devoid of any dramatic swings, we cashed in on what will surely be a landmark vintage. Growing PInot Noir near the coast means you must content with constant pressure from rot and mildew. Except in the drought years, where there simply isn't the ever-present moisture in the environment. The resulting wines show a clarity of expression that is pretty compelling. If that weren't enough, the low yields translated to wines with great concentration. Dry extract for days. All totaled up, these 2014's Pinots may be some of the best red wines we have ever produced. Dig in.
DETAILS Vineyard: Goldridge, Teac-Mor
Appellation: Sonoma Coast County: Sonoma
Winemaker: John Raytek
Production: 900 cases
Anticipated maturity: 2017-2023
Alcohol: 13.8 Yield:
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LIOCO is the result of a years-long conversation between Matt Licklider (a seasoned wine import specialist) and Kevin O'Connor (former wine director at Spago-Beverly Hills) about whether California could produce a true "wine of origin." Inspired by traditional European winegrowing practices, they sought out vineyard sites with tougher soil, older vines, and some stress-producing aspect (altitude, extreme temperature, poor soil, etc). Under winemaker John Raytek of Ceritas, the grapes are shepherded from bud to bottle in the least intrusive way possible producing some of the most focused, balanced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir coming from such storied vineyards as Hirsch, Demuth, and Hanzell.