California Wine, Various Producers
Lioco- “Beginning with their inaugural vintage in 2006, LIOCO was founded upon the fusion of Matt LIcklider and Kevin O’Connor’s ideas about the potential of California terroirs and the election to express these ideas using two primary grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
LIOCO’s concept has always been to concentrate its efforts on procuring the best available fruit to compose the best possible wines. In order to articulate what LIOCO considers one of its core beliefs, of producing wines that justly reflect origin; they only source fruit from some of the top independent-growers in California.”
Lioco Chardonnay Sonoma County 2012
Sonoma, California. “a selection of complementary sonoma county vineyards compose this wine. while each site is distinct, they share a common commitment to sustainable horticulture and strident farming. our intention for this wine is to express, as transparently as possible, the unique character of this region. warm days and cool nights, tempered by consistent oceanic fog, yield rich chardonnays balanced by brisk acidity.” “Aroma: Crushed chalk, lemon oil, kaffir lime. Flavor: Candied lemon rind, chamomile, mineral. Food pairings: Ginger chicken, shrimp & grits, stonecrab claws.” “The fruit was hand-harvested and the berries “broken” before being pressed (85% to stainless steel tanks & 15% to neutral oak). fermented on the lees with regular battonage for 10-mos. malolactic fermentation occurred naturally and finished completely. a gentle cross-flow filtration was performed prior to bottling.” 4800 cases produced. $22.99
“MATTHIASSON is a family endeavor, the effort of Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson, and our two young sons. We have both had life-long careers in sustainable agriculture, and we apply those ideals of balance, restraint, and respect for the individual—and for the whole—to our wine. Our production is simple but careful. This concept is central to the tradition of viticulture and winemaking. Respect for this tradition forms the core of our work. To that end, our hands literally touch every vine and every bottle.
As a vineyard consultant Steve teaches and makes decisions, such as when to water and how to prune, on vineyards throughout Napa and Sonoma. Steve’s current clients include Araujo Estate, Spottswoode, Chappellet, Hall, David Arthur, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Long Meadow Ranch, Trefethen, Limerick Lane, and others. On our own vineyards, however, Steve cares for the vines with his own hands, driving the tractor at night, and working with the crews on Sundays.”
Matthiasson Vineyards Rose 2013
Napa, California (Yolo County, Carneros). The blend is 36% Grenache, 28% Syrah, 26% Mouvedre, and 10% Counoise. “The Windmill Vineyard is situated on pinkish gravelly alluvial soils in the Dunnigan Hills AVA of Yolo County. The Kahn Vineyard is a tiny one acre vineyard on a rocky and breezy stone outcrop overlooking Carneros and the San Pablo Bay. This 2013 Rosé was made from a combination of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre, and Counoise from the Windmill vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills, and Syrah grapes from the Kahn Vineyard in Lovell Valley. With bright grapefruit and white peach flavors, it will complement the wonderful spring foods that show up on the table as the weather thaws (salads, rabbit, frittatas, peas, favas, green garlic…). Perfect for springtime holiday meals, or enjoying on the porch all summer.”
“We whole-cluster pressed the grapes, settled in tank for 24 hours, then fermented and aged the wine sur lees in stainless steel barrels. To preserve the acidity we prevented malo-lactic fermentation. We kept the barrels shut tight, no topping or stirring, and the wine was never racked, fined, or cold-stabilized, but since it is ML negative it was filtered before bottling.” 180 cases produced. $24.99
Jen’s note- Very pale orange/salmon in color. Aromatic, wild strawberry/lanolin/warm baking spice, smells great. Juicy entry, soft texture. Great balance. Fresh and minimal acid. Low ABV 11.5%. *
“Broc Cellars was nothing more than an idea not that long ago, about making wines that were “site specific”. Where the wines true character came from using only sustainably, organically, or biodynamically grown grapes from areas that most would consider marginal climates. Believing that vineyards develop ‘true’ character and complexity when they have to struggle to survive. This can come from many different aspects: poor nutrient and water holding capacity, steep slopes, cool temperatures, or from old vines that are dry farmed. In the cellar we try to continue this practice using minimal intervention, in an effort to let the grapes speak for themselves.
We are a ‘low wattage’ winery in the sense that we have very little modern equipment. Grapes are pitchforked whole-cluster into the fermenters, fermentation is allowed to happen spontaneously, all wines are basket pressed, with little/no sulphur used in our wines until bottling. True asphalt winemaking, in an urban winery.”
“WINERY: Broc Cellars wines are natural wines, meaning no inoculated yeast or bacteria. We do not add any powdered tannins/enzymes to our wines. A minimal dose of SO2 is added 4 weeks before bottling. The 2013 Love White is unfined and filtered. The 2013 Love Red is unfined and lightly filtered. [To the Zinfandel] A minimal dose of SO2 is added 4 weeks before bottling unfined with light filtration.
Broc Cellars Love White 2013
Madera County, California. Love Ranch Vineyard. 60% Marsanne, 35% Roussanne, 5% Grenache Blanc. Love Ranch Vineyard is “located 60 miles south of Yosemite National Park in Madera County.
The grapes were harvested during the 3rd week of August to help preserve the wines natural acidity. Fermented in a 25hL Hungarian oval cask with no SO2, then racked down to 20 year-old 600L German casks for 6 months. Malo-lactic fermentation was allowed to happen naturally. Bottled in February to help preserve freshness in the wine.” 320 cases produced. $18.99
Jen’s note- Very fresh nose; ripe tangerine/green apple/pineapple/pear. Aromatic with savory hints. Gentle/silky/textured. White tea. Very interesting. **
Broc Cellars Love Red 2013
Madera County, California. Love Ranch Vineyard. 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah. “The grapes were harvested during the 3rd week of August to help preserve the wines natural acidity. Fermented in stainless steel open-top fermenters with no SO2, then racked down to 20 year-old 600L German casks for 6 months. Malo-lactic fermentation was allowed to happen naturally. Bottled in February to help preserve freshness in the wine.” 320 cases produced. $18.99
Jen’s note- Pretty, clear brick/garnet. Fragrant perfume of rose petal/briary fruits. Fresh. Something about it reminds me of Cru Beaujolais. Earth hints? Also textured. Gentle acid. Approachable. Delicious finish. **
Broc Cellars Zinfandel Vine Starr 2012
Sonoma, California. “Buck Hill vineyard in Russian River and Arrowhead Mountain vineyard in Sonoma valley. Organically (non-certified) farmed from volcanic soils. Picked at low brix to highlight acidity, nerve, and fruit on the bright-red spectrum of Zinfandel. Essential aromatics of bramble-brush and spice remind us what we’re drinking, but the palate, alive with fresh mouth-watering acidity and subtle nuances of fruit are a departure from the expected. Delicacy, finesse – a distilled, pure eau-de-vie focus of flavor has invigorated our fondness for this often less-than-magnificent variety.” 800 cases produced. $27.99
Jen’s note- Fresh, fruity nose. Light color- pretty. Deep spice and dark fruits but not jammy- very unique, juicy entry. Very fresh. Strawberry- long.
Peay Vineyards/Cep: “Husband and wife, Nick Peay & Vanessa Wong, grow and make the wine and brother Andy Peay sells the wine and runs the business.
With minor exceptions, all wines are made from grapes grown on our 51-acre hilltop vineyard located above a river in the far northwestern corner of the West Sonoma Coast, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean at Sea Ranch.
We grow 34 acres of Pinot noir (4 Pinots: Scallop Shelf, Pomarium, Ama, Sonoma Coast), 8 acres of Syrah (2 Syrah: Les Titans, La Bruma), 7 acres of Chardonnay (2 Chardonnay: Estate, Sonoma Coast), 1.8 acres of Viognier (Estate), 0.4 acres of Roussanne and 0.2 acres of Marsanne (Estate blend).
We farm organically and maintain our certifications for fish-friendly farming and integrated pest management. The health of our vineyard dictates these approaches to farming and making wine. We also run on bio-diesel at the vineyard and solar power at both the vineyard and winery.”
“Cep Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay are made from barrels of wine that do not make it into one of the Peay wines. All the blending for the Peay cuvées is done blind – without knowing the amount each potential wine will make to keep the finance guy honest – so they choose the wine that best expresses the cuvée and the vintage. After all the wines for the vintage are put together, Vanessa will say we have X extra barrels and they become Cep. They are delicious and at half the price of Peay an incredible steal.”
Cep Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012
Sonoma Coast, California. “Cep is a second label of Peay Vineyards crafted by Vanessa Wong. The Sonoma Pinot Noir is a value-priced Pinot Noir that is a consistently good play for the money. Made from young vines and declassified juice.” “Light, bright red. Spicy, intensely floral nose shows energetic red berry aromas, potpourri and a lively blood orange quality. Silky in texture, with bright raspberry and cherry flavors gently braced by tangy acidity. Finishes long, spicy and refreshingly brisk, the floral note repeating.” 350 cases produced. $29.99
Jen’s note- Very pretty color, clear magenta. Aromatic, sweet spices. Oak/vanilla- subtle. Dry entry but expansive. Bright and juicy.