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So why is the 2012 Ladera Cabernet—made from almost entirely from Howell Mountain fruit, from an incredible vintage—sitting pretty at $34.99? I honestly can't tell you. Maybe it's because no one knows how good the Ladera holdings in Howell Mountain are. Or maybe it's the pride that winemaker Jade Barrett takes in making a serious wine for a reasonable price. Or maybe it's because Ladera is an overlooked gem in a sea of Napa alternatives. For whatever the reason, I'm not going to complain. We tasted the 2012 vintage at our staff training yesterday and I was just floored by the quality of this wine. Dark, fleshy fruit cloaked in fine tannins, bits of earth, and in total balance, with enough gusto to go the long haul in your cellar. It's a whole lotta wine for $34.99, and it's made primarily from Howell Mountain grapes, harvested during a great vintage. 

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Entries in Spago (1)

Tuesday
Jan182011

Behind the Wine: Matt Licklider and LIOCO

More than a Pretty Label: LIOCO is a joint partnership between Kevin O'Connor (Wine Director at Michelin 2-Star Restaurant Spago in Beverly Hills) and wine import veteran Matt Licklider (above) dedicated to minimal interventionist winemaking and the expression of "terroir." The name LIOCO is a combination of their two last names.

This Friday, patrons to the K&L Redwood City store are in for a treat. 

The intelligent and charming Matt Licklider, co-founder of LIOCO, will be returning to our tasting bar to pour the current releases of Lioco's naturally made, minimal interventionist Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and red blend, "Indica."

From their vineyard practices to their eye-catching, color-coded labels, LIOCO is all about minimalism.  In wine-speak, this translates to adhering to a simple code of only working with exceptional sites, following sustainable vineyard practices, restricted use of new barrels, and only fermenting with native yeasts.  In marketing-speak, this means informative and "cool" labelling, stelvin (screwcap) closures for wines meant to be drunk young and fresh, and sustainable packaging.  LIOCO will even "keg" wine as a means to offer greener alternatives to their restaurant customers.

As if presence on top restaraunt wine lists around the nation and scores of favorable reviews isn't enough, let us humble folk at K&L add our two cents: these guys know what they're doing. 

Getting to Know Matt Licklider

KL: How did you get into the wine business?

ML:  I fell in.  Head first.  Was ski bumming in Aspen, and drinking the dregs of First Growth Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundy left behind by the uber-wealthy dining at the restaurant where I worked.

KL: What’s your winemaking philosophy?

Philosophy is the right word.  We source fruit from conscientious farmers, and do as little in the cellar as possible.  That means no additions of yeast, enzymes, nutrients, acid, water, oak chips, and in most cases no fining or filtration.  The resulting wines are natural and faithfully translate their individual terroirs.

What are some of your favorite restaurants?

My wife and I live in the Presidio (SF) and we love to walk to dinner.  So our usual haunts are NOPA, Nopalito, Bistro Aix, Out The Door, Pizzeria Delfina and lots of killer Asian dives on Clement Street. (We hear ya, Matt!)

What did you drink last night? (Or the last time you had a glass of wine that wasn’t your own?)

Well, I seldom sit down and drink a bottle of LIOCO.  Mostly I drink traditional European wines with high acidity and low alcohol.  Last night we drank a bottle of Pierre Peters NV Brut Champagne, followed by a half bottle of '09 Huet Vouvray Sec, and finished with a bottle of '06 Denis Mortet Gevery Chambertin.  Granted there were three of us.

What's your position on wine-pairing and what do you like to pair your wines with?

Wine's sole purpose is to compliment food. With our Chardonnays (which are unoaked and quite savory, rather than fruity) I like Dungeness crab with black bean and ginger sauce (at Yuet Lee), grilled sardines, scallops and firm white fish.  With the Pinots I like pork belly, a fatty salmon like Copper Riverand duck confit!!  Indica is for BBQ.

What advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Don't do it! It takes over your life and it can be a very expensive habit/business.

 *** 

TASTE

What: LIOCO Wine Tasting with Matt Licklider

When: Friday, January 21 5pm-6:30pm

Cost of Tasting: $5

Where: K&L Redwood City (map)

SHOP

Buy LIOCO wine on KLWines.com >> SHOP LIOCO

LEARN

Go to LIOCO Website

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