Matt Licklider, Sara Licklider & Drew Huffine
Indica Red Table Wine 2019
Time warp to mid-century California, featuring three heritage sites planted from the 1940s to the 1960s: Lolonis, McCutchen, and Bartolomei. The blend is mainly Carignan with an extra hit of freshness in the form of Valdigué (7%). Various fermentation techniques were employed in both open-top and closed-top tanks, exposing the grapes to various levels of oxygen and skin contact (a complexity booster). Aged for seven months in a combination of stainless steel tanks, neutral French oak barrels, and used puncheons. Fun fact: at 318 liters, puncheons are about 1.5x larger than typical oak barrels, which means they have a subtler effect on the resulting wine due to a higher wine-to-wood ratio. Neutral (aka used) barrels provide softness without added oak flavor. 2250 cases produced.13.5% abv.
In 2005, two friends met in an alley behind Spago Beverly Hills and, following a fruitful conversation, emerged as winery co-founders. They were Kevin O’Connor, the restaurant’s wine director, and Matt Licklider, who sold French wine for North Berkeley Imports. The winery-to-be was LIOCO, a mashup of the founders’ last names, and an unlikely progenitor of a new American wine movement. If Spago was emblematic of the more-is-more bravado that gave us two decades of celebrity chefs, cult Cabernet and designer pizza, LIOCO marked a generational shift towards minimalism, transparency, and authenticity. To gauge the breadth of their influence, just thumb through the index of Jon Bonné’s seminal book, New California Wine, published in 2013. LIOCO, just eight years old at the time, is referenced more than almost any other winery. Today, LIOCO is a family operation: husband/wife-duo Matt and Sara Licklider run the company out of a cooperative space in Santa Rosa with a small team that includes winemaker Drew Huffine. In stark contrast to European wineries of equal stature, LIOCO doesn’t own any vineyards, or even a winery. This speaks to their stripped down ethos, and has allowed them to stay relentlessly focused on their craft. It’s also fueled a spirit of collaboration — behind every wine is a relationship with a grower that connects you to a unique corner of California.