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Event Details

May 20 2020 / 7:30 PM EDT

California & Loire

Hosted by Tim Willard

Platform – Join us at 7:30 EDT on Zoom.

Special Guests – Winemaker and Proprietor of Lioco, Matt Licklider and our very own Jon-David Headrick

Musical Guest – Cory Cain @0ysterhead

Wines of the Night – Lioco Rosé of Carignan, Lioco Indica Red, Claux Delorme Valençay Blanc, Jean-François Mérieau Bois Jacou

Questions – Please email with any questions or assistance in sourcing wine


LIOCO was at the vanguard of the New California Wine movement, and for the past 14-years has been rendering minimalist wines from some of the state’s premier vineyard sites. Inspired by traditional European practices and the California wines of the 1980s, owners Matt & Sara Licklider seek out the “special places”–often dry-farmed, organic/bio vineyards with interesting soil, older vines, & heritage clones. Along with winemaker Drew Huffine and star viticulturalist Prudy Foxx, their team is redefining California Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Carignan.

PLACE MATTERS in the words of Matt Licklider:

Why has wine survived for 9,000 years? We believe it’s because unlike any other beverage it can transport us–in one whiff–to the far corners of the earth. Wine should smell and taste like it came from someplace. Without this unique expression of place, wine loses its distinction… and its story.

Fortunately, this sensory experience is not reserved for expensive single-vineyard bottlings. Many of the world’s great wine values are made by blending regional vineyards. On California’s wild North Coast where a cold sea, foggy river valleys, and ancient redwoods co-mingle with vineyards, this concept is especially resonant. There is an abundance of “there, there,” which is why the words Sonoma County and Mendocino County as seen on a label should mean something. All four County Wine labels now sport a wrapping topographical map that corresponds to the wine’s place of origin.  Mendo Pinot Noir shows a river mouth and the Pacific; Indica Red a mountainside; Rosé a benchland; and SoCo a sprawling estuary. Like all the LIOCO labels before them, these contemporary new labels have a singular color identity and dynamic, tech-sheet back labels.

You can follow Matt and Lioco at, @liocowineco & @liocomatt


Standing in a rocky, chalk-covered vineyard a many years ago, I listened as a winegrower friend talked about the current state of wine. “Fruit in wine is easy”, he said. “Purity is elusive.” He was right, of course, but I’d never really thought about it in such stark terms. He continued, “Purity comes from hardship. It comes from the struggle of the vine’s roots through the rocks it is planted on, it comes from the fight against every other plant vying for the same water and nutrients, and it comes from the plant learning to fight for itself and not having man fight its battles.”


In creating my portfolio, I was looking for these kinds of wines, and I found them planted on a massive swath of chalk and slate that runs from the Atlantic Ocean through the Loire river valley and into Champagne. This “chalk line” produces wines of extraordinary purity, minerality, and soul and represents the heart of my portfolio. The properties with which I work are consumed with making true wines – wines that are true to where they come from, true to the earth, and true to the winemaker’s obsession with quality. The vast majority of the properties with which I work practice organic or biodynamic viticulture and I wholly support winemakers who harvest by hand, use indigenous yeasts, and who vinify with little intervention. All are leaders in their appellations and harvest at dramatically lower yields than their neighbors. Above all else, they are farmers.



To join in the tasting we will be establishing retail partners in several markets. If you are interested in becoming a retail partner, or you are a consumer who would like to participate please contact us and we will try to assist you in locating the wines. 

  • Graft, 700 King Street Suite B, Charleston, SC


Goat Cheese Tarts

If a basic crust recipe isn’t in your repertoire now is the time to perfect your pastry skills. As I’ve written before, Mireille Johnston’s crust recipe is always in high demand with friends and family and can be filled with both sweet and savory fillings. While you and use any oil in the recipe, I’ve found that walnut oil has the best results. I’ve posted Isabelle Sabon’s recipe for a tomato filling before but this time I’ve modified it for 4″ inch tart tins.

The first few times you start making your own pastry, be ready for some frustration, but once you have the technique mastered, managing it will become second nature. One trick I learned early on was to add about 1/2 a teaspoon of cider vinegar to the crust recipe. This addition prevents the formation of gluten so if you have to make a few attempts to roll out the dough properly, you can retain its flaky texture and prevent the crust from shrinking when you prebake it. Once you’ve got the hang of things you can omit this ingredient.

I’ve discovered that you can cut the salt back to 3/4 teaspoon if you’re mindful of your sodium intake, any more than that and it throws off the chemistry and the crust feels oily and bland. It is absolutely necessary for sweet fillings like the rustic apple tart in the image below, the interplay between salty and sweet is amazing. 

Same crust recipe with sweet and savory fillings

By Isabelle Sabon (tomato), Steven Spanbauer (chard), crust recipe from Mireille Johnston’s The Cuisine of the Sun
6 servings / 1 hour preparation time & 50 minute cooking time     

INGREDIENTS CRUST – Makes 6 tart crusts
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil or lard, olive, walnut, almond or peanut oil work equally well
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons cold water
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes
  • 3 4″ prebaked tart shells
  • Herbes de Provence, my favorite blend comes from Penzeys Spices
  • salt and pepper
  • Dijon mustard
  • Heavy cream
  • Olive oil
  • 2 oz Goat cheese, chèvre
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion or leeks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 oz goat cheese, chèvre
  • Dijon mustard (used to brush the pastry crust)
  • 4 tablespoons cream, + a few more tablespoons to drizzle on the tarts before baking
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. The easiest way to make the crust dough is with a food processor. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the food processor container and with the plastic blade pulse a few times to blend. Next, add the butter and oil and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse, ground cornmeal. Finally, add 4 tablespoons of water and pulse, you may have to scrape the sides and pulse again to have the mixture form in the food processor. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon of water and pulse again. When the dough spins around the food processor, you know you’re done.
  2. If you do not have a food processor, you can make the dough by briskly pinching the butter and flour mixture together or by using a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour. Pour the mixture onto a clean countertop and form a well in the center. Start to form the dough by adding 4 tablespoons of cold water to the center of the well and begin to mix the water in with your hands, then knead briskly to form the dough. Add more water if the dough is too crumbly.
  3. Form the dough into 3 equally sized balls and flatten slightly. Make certain not to overwork the dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly – about 10-15 minutes
  5. While the dough is warming pre-heat the oven to 450º F.
  6. Roll one of the discs of dough on a floured surface until the crust is about 1/8″ thick and is at least 6″ in diameter. This video explains the easiest way to accomplish this.
  7. Line the dough in a 4″ tart tin. Carefully lift the edged of the crust with one hand while you gently press the dough into the bottom edges of the tart tin. To trim place your rolling pin in the center of the tart tin and roll it to the top edge and then towards the bottom edge. Prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork, then set on a baking sheet
  8. Reform the scaps from the first crust and roll it out and fill the second tart tin
  9. Repeat this process until you have lined six 4″ tart tins
  10. Bake for 5 minutes at 450ºF.
  11. Remove the tart shells from the oven and brush it with the dijon mustard
  1. Slice the tomatoes into 1/8″ slices
  2. Add enough cream to the bottom of 3 tart shell to cover, about 2 tablespoons
  3. Layer the tomato in each of the tart shells slightly overlapping them as the tomato will shrink as it bakes
  4. Sprinkle with the herbes de provence, salt, pepper, and drizzle with olive oil
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 450ºF
  6. Remove from the oven and add thin slices of goat cheese (I find it easier to form small discs of goat cheese with my hands), cover with aluminum foil making sure that it doesn’t touch the goat cheese, and bake for another 15 minutes
  1. Remove the chard from its stems with a sharp paring knife, coarsely chop and set aside
  2. Chop the onion and set aside
  3. Heat a saute pan on medium heat, when hot add the butter and once it has melted saute the chopped onion until it has softened and has just begun to brown – about 2-3 minutes
  4. Add the chard, salt, and pepper, and saute until it has wilted – about 3-4 minutes
  5. Place the sauteed onion and chard in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped parsley, cream, and crumbled chèvre and mix. Taste the mixture and adjust the saltiness to your tastes
  6. Divide the mixture and fill three tart shells, gently pressing the mixture into the bottom corners of each. Drizzle with a little cream and top with parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 450ºF checking the tarts after 15 minutes. They are done when the parmesan is golden brown.


Despite its Nordic roots, Gravlax makes a suitable substitution for a charcuterie board and is a welcomed addition to those looking to reduce their red meat intake or the additives often found in cured meats. Oddly, many people are strange around fish, especially if it is not “cooked”. Heat isn’t the only way to finish protein however and it can be replaced with citrus juice as is used in ceviche, or the salt & sugar in this recipe. Now more than ever as people are baking at home or looking for more “rooted” and traditional ways to prepare food, why not give this simple recipe a try? I guarantee that the results are better than anything you can find at the store and far less expensive.

You can skip ahead to the recipe if you’re not interested in the etymology or history of Gravlax.

The word is a compound of “lax”, meaning salmon and “grav” which refers to it being buried. Before the days of refrigeration, most of the fish caught in Scandinavia was cured by being pickled (herring anyone?), salted and air-dried like salt cod, or cured in salt and sugar and stored underground. Out of these methods of curing fish, Gravlax is the most gentle – preserving and concentrating the flavor of the salmon. I opt for a shorter cure of 18 hours and then at least 1 day of rest before serving. If you prefer a drier style of lax you can cure it for up to three days before rinsing and resting the fish. Just keep in mind that the longer the salmon is in contact with the cure, the more lactic and tart it will taste.

  • 1 Coho or Sockeye salmon filet, preferably weighing between 9-12 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt (do not use iodized salt!)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 10 white peppercorns, crushed
  • 4 juniper berries, crushed (optional)
  • a handful of fresh dill, fronds removed from the stems
  • a handful of parsley, destemmed
  • a 1-quart ziplock freezer bag
  1. Wash the salmon filet under cold water and pat dry. With tweezers, remove any pin bones that might be present in the filet and trim to make sure it fits in the ziplock bag
  2. Crush the peppercorns and juniper berries under a heavy pan or in a mortar and pestle and mix them with the salt and sugar in the ziplock bag
  3. Add the salmon to the ziplock bag, seal it and shake it so the salmon is evenly coated with the curing mixture
  4. Remove the stems from the parsley and dill and add them on top of the flesh side of the salmon.
  5. Gently press out any extra air and seal the ziplock bag. You may have to remove some salt or sugar from the grooves of the bag to make sure the seal doesn’t leak
  6. Place the salmon in a small baking dish and place a weight on top. I’ve used a cutting board and several large cans of beans or tomatoes. I’ve also used a plate and a concrete gargoyle because I like laughter whenever anyone opens the refrigerator. The fish needs to be pressed to aid in the release of its liquid which forms the cure
  7. Place your gravlax contraption in the refrigerator. Turn the ziplock bag over every 12 hours and cure for at least 18 hours and up to 3 days.
  8. After the curing period is complete, rinse the gravlax under cold water, rinse out the ziplock bag, and return the sealed gravlax to the refrigerator to rest for at least 24 hours
  9. To serve, slice the gravlax with a long, sharp carving or sushi knife. You can make this easier by placing the gravlax in the freezer for 20 minutes before slicing. It’s better to slice the fish in one motion rather than sawing at it which will shred the fish.
  10. Leftovers can be safely kept refrigerated for up to 3 days but it will continue to gradually ferment and taste more lactic. If you have some left after that period you can scramble it with some eggs for a tasty breakfast.

I like to pair Gravlax with a high-acid white wine such as Sancerre, Sauvignon de Touraine, and Muscadet. It also is good with Rosé and lighter red wines with fresh acidity and lower tannins. And as always, you can never go wrong with Champagne.