Lioco Winery Carignan Sativa, 2016, Mendocino
Who, what, where, and why does it matter?
Lioco is a winery founded about 15 years ago and now owned by Matt and Sara Licklider. The focus on the winery is to produce wines in a style that is more about nuance, finesse and flavor, rather than power and alcohol. Sourcing fruit from cooler, coastal regions in Santa Cruz, Sonoma and Mendocino, they are able to craft wines that are more in the pleasure than pain spectrum. This Carignan is a prime example of that.
Sourced from a vineyard planted just after WWII, and at elevation of about 2400+ feet, Carignan is not one of those grapes that immediately comes to mind when thinking California wine. Carignan is a grape that is most often seen in blends coming from northern and western Spain and southern France. A compliment to grapes like Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, it is often a powerful wine with deep color and flavor. Grown on a higher site (think cooler climate), such as the Pine Meadow AVA vineyard owned by Jim McCutchen, the fruit becomes elegant and berry focused, developing deep intensity, but not high sugars. The back label on the Lioco Carignan boasts tons of information, including the 22.6* Brix, which correlates to the 13.2% alcohol in the wine. Be careful, this wine is a pounder for sure.
Beautiful black raspberry fruit develop on the palate, with supple tannins, giving and immensely drinkable wine. Easy to have this wine with a steak or pizza, it will stack up to more sophisticated dishes as well due to the length of fruit and juicy acidity.
Found at retail for $28 (you may need two bottles)
Check out the winery website here
While working on some wine study this week (which has not been exactly easy with all of the distractions and works schedule getting tossed about due to the global pandemic), I landed on South Africa, and specifically Franschhoek. I got here due to the fact that I posted a Survey on Facebook and asked folks to vote on which wine I should open and discuss from my cellar. I gave several choices - all from the 2001 vintage.
Why 2001? Well, I had 19 stuck in my head for some reason, and so I went back 19 years to see what I had about. It turns out there are quite a few items in my cellar from that vintage - I was working as a sales rep at the time, and I had the opportunity to accumulate quite a bit of wine from suppliers, personal purchases and the odd sample that never got used. Of the selections offered up for opening were a Barolo from La Spinetta, a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Ladera Winery, and the Cabernet Sauvignon from Boekenhoutskloof Winery from the Franschhoek region of the Western Cape in South Africa (ZA). The winner, with 2/3 of the votes, was the Boekenhoutskloof, and was it ever good.
The key points on this wine are: it is from the 2001 vintage, a vintage that was hot and very low yielding - in fact the lowest yields since the 1988 vintage for the most part. Additionally, Boekenhoutskloof had only been making wine for about 5 years, and they made one of the highest regarded wines of the vintage. This wine scored very well in the press and there were many comments from reviewers that indicated long aging was ahead for this wine. As I held this for 19 years or so I would agree upon opening it that there was indeed a lot to be hopeful in this wine. Those predicting agability were definitely correct in their predictions. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged for 27 months in French Oak barrels.
Guide to wineries in the the Franschhoek:
The basics on Franschhoek
ABOUT THE Author
Brian Mitchell runs The New England Wine Academy, and is responsible for the content of this blog. With 30 years of drinks industry experience, Brian has learned a few things, but everyday he is learning more. This blog helps to bring that knowledge to you.