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F&W's American Wine Awards: Terroir fascination in Sonoma.

Lioco owns no vineyards. It produces wine from a rented space in a custom-crush facility. Its owners didn't grow up in winemaking families. But the results are very impressive.

Lioco founders Kevin O'Connor and Matt Licklider met when O'Connor was a sommelier and Licklider was working for a wine importer. They became friends and discovered a shared desire not just to drink wine, but to make it. "And to make it with a noninterventionist approach, from vineyards with tougher soil, older vines, clonal diversity," Licklider says.

Their goal is an unadorned expression of terroir, something the vivid 2009 Lioco Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir ($60) has. It's also pure clarity of flavor, as in the clean, citrusy 2010 Lioco Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($20).

Sonoma Wine Coverage:

Published October 2011
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