Many of our long-time list members know that the best values in our Cellar are the appellation wines — those made from a blend of proximate vineyard sites in a single viticultural area. Our goal for these California wines is to capture the nuance of that area. Does Russian River Valley mean something on a label? We think it should.

2018 Estero, Russian River Valley

If you visit the Michelin-starred establishments in our area — Singlethread Farms and The Farmhouse Inn — you will find LIOCO’s 2018 Esteo from the Russian River Valley featured as the house pour (a source of LIOCO pride considering the number of local wineries that covet those spots!). The anchor vineyard source for this California wine has long been the Teac Mor Vineyards, which our bohemian friend Steven Moore farms “egeneratively,” a system that enhances biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystems. There is a palpable hum coming from his vineyard — a cacophony of bees and birds and frogs and the bleating of pygmy goats. The vines here are rooted in some very old, complex soils of volcanic ash, river stones, loam, and clay. To hear Steven speak of the geological drama that played out in this Valley millions of years ago is to understand better why the wines from his ranch are so full of character. The 2018 Estero is one of the more crystalline and razor-sharp California wines, with a nervy weave of salinity tucked into its preserved lemon and fennel bulb core. The best wineries in Healdsburg will offer opulent and energetic wines, making for a long, clean, citrusy finish. Taste wines like this at LIOCO.

2018 Las Arenas, Santa Cruz Mountains

Our success in Santa Cruz is primarily allied to our partnership with local legend Prudy Foxx. Known as the vine whisperer, Prudy manages our vineyards in the Aptos-Corralitos zone, and she does so in a mysterious, “witchy” way. Each vine is managed uniquely, and we’ve seen her pitching crushed-up oyster shells from her pocket into the rows. Las Arenas, which means “the sands” in Spanish, refers to the deep sandy soils found in this pocket beside the cold Monterey Bay. A blend of three Vineyard Designates—La Marisma, Howard Family, and Bruzzone—this Chardonnay captures the essence of the heavily forested, fog-choked maritime zone and yields a wine with the electric sap found solely in California’s most extreme growing zones. These excellent California wines from Lioco, one of the best wineries in Healdsburg, lead with a slatey, wet stone note, some exotics like golden kiwi & starfruit, and finishes with just-ripe green pears and brioche. Sara and I pair this wine with panko-crusted ling cod finished with flaky sea salt and a squeeze of Eureka lemon.


Explore our white California wines – the perfect pairing for seafood recipes. Both the 2018 Estero from the Russian River Valley and the 2018 Las Arenas from grapes grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains offer clean, fresh flavors and a finish that perfectly complements nicely prepared fish dishes. Join the winemakers and sip some truly excellent California wines at LIOCO Wine Company during your next outing to the Healdsburg area. Known as one of the best wineries in Healdsburg and the surrounding region, LIOCO selectively sources its unique quality grapes from exceptional vineyards as far as 200 miles. Make your reservations to sample LIOCO’s excellent handcrafted California wines by visiting the website or phoning (707)-395-0148.