2022 Lioco, Chardonnay, Sonoma County.
Lioco’s brilliant, almost Chablis like crisp, Sonoma County Chardonnay, made by the husband and wife team of Matt & Sara Licklider, is one of best deals in California Chardonnay with its subtle oak use, bright acidity and mineral intense personality. This vivid and steely effort from Lioco shows off everything you’d expect from the Lickliders, with vibrant lemon, apple, pear and tangy peach fruits on the racy medium bodied palate, along with saline rich wet stone, clove spice, citrus blossom and just the right amount of delicate flinty and hazelnut reductive charm, that is Burgundy inspired. The pale gold Sonoma Coast shows off a different and more restrained style to most mainstream California Chards and is highly entertaining in the glass and goes great with a verity of cuisine choices, especially though with sea foods. Matt and Sara, and their small team, strive as they says to produce low intervention wines from special vineyards spanning 400-miles and five counties, including terroirs in Sonoma, Mendocino, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and Yolo, with a fine set of Chardonnays, like this one, as well as Pinot Noirs. Licklider adds, this Sonoma County Chard is defined by its mouth watering, steely freshness ala the Louis Michel Chablis that inspired it, but the barrel fermented additions have added complexity and mouth feel, which I can attest to, this 2022 is a thrill!

One of California’s new generation of wineries, Lioco, owned by, as mentioned above, 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, like this one, and Pinot Noir, as well as a set of very cool and serious Carignan based wines, one Rosé, the pure 100% Carignan Sativa and the “Indica” version, which I reviewed recently, which has a small dose of Valdiguié included in some years. Lioco’s collection of wines is full of energy and crispness of detail, this quality is expressed especially vividly in their Sonoma County 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 one sees early picks and whole cluster cool pressed grapes with most lots seeing full barrel fermentation and aging in used French oak. This cuvée, usually about 12.5% natural alcohol is mostly from Sonoma Coast and Russian River sites typically and is a blend of barrels that don’t make the cut into Lioco’s single vineyard wines, but don’t let that give you pause as this Sonoma County Chard is seriously delicious!
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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