We first discovered Liquid Farm wines a few years ago on our anniversary. We went to dinner at Redd in Yountville and ordered the tasting menu with wine pairings. One of the courses was paired with Liquid Farm’s Rose of Mourvedre and we were in love at first taste.
Liquid Farm is owned by husband and wife team Jeff and Nikki Nelson, who started the winery in 2009 with four barrels of their Golden Slope and White Hill wines from the Santa Rita Hills. The Santa Rita Hills AVA is a unique area for Chardonnay, as only 15 percent of the AVA is planted to the grape.
We tasted through the Liquid Farm portfolio of wines at Jeff and Nikki’s house in Los Olivos. It was a beautiful day for an al fresco tasting in the back yard, and Nikki put together a lovely selection of meats and cheeses. We had a great time chatting about the wines and watching their two dogs and “The Golden Girls” (Yes, each chicken is actually named after a different Golden Girl from the TV show) play around the yard.
Liquid Farm is really a study in soil types, and it’s amazing to taste the difference in each bottle. The White Hill reminds us of the best 1er Cru Chablis we’ve ever tasted, and is grown on soil composed of diatomaceous earth, which is essentially prehistoric algae shells. The Golden Slope is slightly richer, more like a Meursault.
One of our favorite wines we tasted was the Four Chardonnay. Nikki explained that Four has been produced since 2011, when they noticed that four barrels of Golden Slope Chardonnay were so distinctive that all the nuances would have gotten lost in the shuffle if they went into Golden Slope bottles. Production of Four has increased to 8 to 10 barrels, always 20-25 percent new oak, which is higher than they typically use in Golden Slope. Jeff and Nikki liken the use of oak to makeup. It needs to be a slight enhancement to what is naturally there, and that differs by the fruit.
These are very special wines and not widely distributed. Your best chance to get a few bottles is to join their wine club. We came home with a few bottles, including the new 2014 Golden Slope. Nikki suggests pairing it with halibut roasted in these parchment bags with thinly sliced potatoes and this fennel pollen. We used beautiful new potatoes from Eatwell Farm that we found at the farmer’s market last weekend. This wine is so youthful that we decanted it per Nikki’s recommendation. We used this decanter. Typically don’t decant whites, but it really helped it to come out of its shell.
To appreciate the complexity and beauty of these wines we really think proper Chardonnay stemware is important. We tried it out of these Chablis glasses by Riedel, and of course our favorite Zalto glass. If you prefer stemless glasses that can go in the dishwasher these are a good option, and we would also love to try these and these. Clayton has been eyeing this white wine decanter, but we really do not need more glassware in our house.
Thank you to Jeff and Nikki for hosting us for such a lovely evening and all of the other recommendations for our trip! Check out other stops from our trip here, here,and here.
GET RECIPE: Halibut in Parchment with Fennel Pollen and Potatoes