Santa Barbara County
2010 was truly a watershed year for pinot noir at The Ojai Vineyard. After an amazingly cool summer the pinot ripened later than usual, but we had a glorious three weeks to hem and haw about when the perfect moment to harvest might be. And thankfully we did harvest, because the day after we were done there was a hot spell that shriveled almost all the pinot fruit still unpicked to raisins and then literally to dust in a matter of two or three days.
We were so lucky and that luck gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity to craft a striking set of pinots from four great vineyards: Kick-On Ranch in Los Alamos near Highway 1, Fe Ciega on the western edge of Santa Rita Hills, Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills in the Santa Maria Valley.
Because of the cool summer and long hang time the pinot was physiologically mature and possessed very high acidity and only modest sugar levels. This gave us wines with incredible drive and personality, yet gentle, supple flavors and all with alcohol levels in the low to mid 13’s.
Currently the Kick-On is the most approachable, and it follows the well reviewed 2009. Both vintages have a distinctive earthy, root-y, yet floral aroma and a charming delicacy on the palate. The 2010 is better in my opinion because the vintage gave it greater freshness and focus. This is a terrific wine that will age effortlessly for many years. We offer it to our wine club and mailing list customers first because the production was tiny; less than 100 cases were made (13.0%).
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: 30% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 13 Months | Total Production: 92 cases
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Moving on to the Pinots, the 2010 Pinot Noir Kick-on Ranch is a pretty, racy effort that saw 100% destemming and no new oak. It offers beautiful Pinot Noir typicity with its underbrush, forest floor, smoke and cherry pit-styled profile and is medium-bodied, fresh and laser-focused on the palate. Firm and edgy at present, it should round into shape with another year or two of bottle age, and drink nicely through 2020.” – JD 91 Points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2010 Pinot Noir Kick On Ranch jumps from the glass with juicy dark cherries, flowers and mint. Utterly impeccable and layered, the 2010 stands out for its racy, exuberant personality. This is a decidedly big, broad-shouldered Pinot from Ojai, but it all works.” – AG 93 Points
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Light, bright red. Spice-accented aromas and flavors of redcurrant, strawberry and orange pith, with a subtle floral nuance emerging with air. Sappy and sweet in the mouth, offering delicate red berry flavors and a hint of bitter pomegranate. Closes on a firm note, with very good energy and lingering spiciness.” – JR 91 Points