2019 Lioco, Carignan/Valdiguié “Indica” Red Blend, Mendocino County.
Lioco’s Indica Red, made from old vines in Mendocino is a juicy blend of 93% Carignan and 7% Valdiguié that shows a lively freshness and supple texture with a comforting array of dark red fruits, it was an excellent quaffer with a nice spicy note, light florals and lingering blueberries. This dry, but fruity red has a creamy round mouth feel that makes it easy to enjoy all on its own as well as with simple foods with layers of crushed blackberries, plum, cherry and tangy currant fruits that are very engaging on the medium/full palate and lifted by touches of cinnamon, sage, garden herbs and anise. This Indica Red saw fermentation in a mix of open-top tanks with gentle punch downs and with a submerged cap to enhance a soft extraction of structural elements, flavors and pigment, allowing the Indica to display its smoothness as well as transparent details, it was raised for about seven months mainly in well used and neutral French oak barrels, larger puncheons and along with stainless steel. Carignan, one of the Chateauneuf grapes, has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years and the quality of these wines is exceptional and Lioco’s is delicious stuff, it joins a fun group of releases like those by Desire Lines, Martha Stoumen, Ridge Vineyards, Sandlands and others that I am very impressed with.

One of California’s new generation of wineries, Lioco, owned by the husband and wife duo of Matt and Sara Licklider, they focus on natural style wines from cool climate sites, mostly extreme coastal ones in western Sonoma (Coast), Mendocino and the Santa Cruz Mountains, with a special focus on cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as a set of Carignan based wines, one Rosé, the pure 100% Carignan Sativa and this “Indica” version, which has a small dose of Valdiguié included. Matt Licklider and winemaker Kai Kliegl use the mature organic Carignan vines at the McCutchen Ranch & Bartolomei Vineyards in Mendocino set on rocky well drained soils with a red clay and loamy underpinnings to make this wine with the Valdiguié being sourced from the 50 year old Lolonis Vineyard. One theme that continues throughout the Lioco range of wines is energy and crispness of detail, this is expressed especially vividly in their Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, the Estero Russian River Chardonnay, the Saveria Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Dijon clone Laguna Pinot from the Sonoma Coast and their very appealing La Marisma Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay, all of which I highly recommend. This dark ruby and magenta 2019 Indica really hit the spot and it perfectly captures the vintage in the bottle with solid fruit density and natural acidity, what’s not to love here?
($25 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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