We have found your Thanksgiving wines! After tasting the LIOCO line up, we realized we should jump on these wines in October, so that y’all can pick them up BEFORE Thanksgiving, or try them now and buy more for the holidays. This crisp chardonnay will cut through richness of gravy and mashed potatoes and compliment all the herbs on your plate, while the red is light bodied, chillable, fruity and is the perfect blend to pair with your turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

LIOCO was conceived in the alley behind Spago Beverly Hills by wine director Kevin O’Connor and wine salesman Matt Licklider. The two colleagues, critical of the heavy-handed wines of the day, wondered if it were possible to make some local wines that favored nuance over sheer power. In 2005, relying on nothing more than their palates and their rolodexes, the two embarked on a winemaking odyssey. Europe was their inspiration, as were the more restrained California wines of the 1980’s.

Their winemaking philosophy is to “trust in the raw material and get out of the way. If the fruit is well-grown and comes from a compelling site, there is no way to improve upon it. Our job is simply to usher it through the process of fermentation and into the bottle with as little intervention as possible.” This has been their approach since Day 1, despite the real incentives to conform to a more commercial style. The focus is on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Carignan from sites with older vines, interesting soils, and heritage clones. Sometimes the hunt for Pinot Noir uncovers other treasures like a coastal Syrah vineyard or a rare, mid-century planting of Valdigue. 

Today the winery is owned and operated by the Licklider family. Husband/wife duo Matt and Sara Licklider and their small team produce the wines at a state of the art winemaking co-operative in Santa Rosa.

All of the fruit is sourced from exceptional vineyards spanning 400 miles and five counties (Sonoma, Mendocino, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and Yolo).

In 2018, they brought winemaker Drew Huffine into their family. While earning his PhD in modern poetry in Mississippi,  he met winemaker Eric Kent during an in-store tasting at the shop Huffine was working at, and Kent offhandedly suggested that he defer for a year and come work with him as a harvest intern. After thinking about it for a day or two, he called Kent, asking him, "Were you serious, can I come work for you?" He had no memory of the conversation, but nonetheless, Huffine wiggled his way into a job. From there he worked with anyone he thought could teach him about vineyard to bottle winemaking, which included stints at Auteur, DuMol, Donom, Kosta Browne, and Copain, which really changed his whole approach to wine and winemaking. 


PlumpJack Wine Team 

LIOCO Sonoma County “SoCo” Chardonnay 

Region / Country of Origin: Sonoma, California

About the Vineyards: This wine is composed of several vineyards, all in the cooler, more western regions of Sonoma County. While each site is distinct, they share a common commitment to sustainable horticulture and strident farming. Our intention for this wine is to express the unique character of this region. Warm days and cool nights, tempered by consistent oceanic fog, yield nuanced Chardonnays balanced by brisk acidity.

About the winemaking: Five sites were harvested in the first 2 weeks of September; fruit was hand-harvested, and foot-tread before being pressed. A majority of the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks, and the balance in neutral oak puncheons, where they remained (with no battonage) for 6 months before racking. A gentle cross-flow filtration was performed prior to bottling.

Tasting Notes: The early-picked fruit had brilliant chemistry, as drought vintage fruit often does, and deeply concentrated flavors. Since 2019 they have been declassifying barrels of Chardonnay from top tier LIOCO cuvees into this wine. SoCo will always be 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 without any trace of oakiness. Aromas of tangerine oil, fresh fennel frond, shale are followed by lemon custard, river stone, and fresh thyme on the palate.

Winemaker: Drew Huffine

Price:  $27.99 btl/$302.29 cs

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Roasted Turkey,

Creamy mashed potatoes,

cauliflower gratin,

chicken paillard, 

fried fish sandwich.

LIOCO Indica Red Table Wine 

Region / Country of Origin: 

Mendocino County, California

About the Vineyards: Composed from three historic Mendocino County ranches—two on the valley floor, one at high elevation—all with heritage dry-farmed, head-trained Carignan + Valdiguie vines. Soils range from red clay (valley) to hard scrabble rocky (mountain). These rapidly vanishing California grapes harken back to the Golden State's earliest winemaking efforts.

About the winemaking: Vintage 2022 marks a return to original form for Indica Red Table Wine—a LIOCO stalwart since 2006. The wildfires in 2020 necessitated a shift in fruit sourcing, and the extreme drought / massive winter frost of 2021 left them with too little fruit to bottle an Indica. In the winter of 2022, they expanded their grape contract at Bartolomei Vineyard and secured the future of this wine. The 2022 is a blend from three historic Mendocino ranches—some dry-farmed, old vine Carignan from Bartolomei (Talmage) and McCutchen (Pine Mountain), plus a healthy dollop of rare Valdiguie from Lolonis (Redwood Valley). The exceptional fruit quality and small clusters characteristic of the vintage enticed us to do 75% whole cluster, with two tanks going through carbonic maceration. All fruit was hand-harvested in mid-Sept./early Oct. Fermented in a mix of open-top tanks (whole cluster), closed tanks (carbonic), and T-bins (submerged cap). Once pressed, all lots were aged separately in a mixture of barrels and stainless steel for 10-mos. Bottled unfined/unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: The juice was pressed off the tannic skins early and "went to barrel sweet" to highlight the crunchy freshness of this wine. The result is chillable, medium weight red that reminds us of Cote de Brouilly, but is unabashedly Californian. With aromas of black plum, mulberry, wild sage, the palate shows flavors of bing cherry, violet, and rosemary. 

Winemaker: Drew Huffine

Price: $23.99 btl/$259.10 cs

Suggested Food Pairing: 

Turkey with cranberry sauce,

sausage stuffing, 

pulled pork sandwich, 

street tacos.

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