Santa Barbara County
I discovered these dry style Rieslings in the early 1990’s when I moved back to Ojai. I was desperate to find a wine I could enjoy on those hot summer evenings and dry Riesling was just the ticket. This got me interested in making Riesling, and it was a happy coincidence that I found a cool climate vineyard on the western edge of the Los Alamos Valley in Santa Barbara County, only a few miles from where Jim Clendenen and I started Au Bon Climat in 1982. I started making a Kick On Ranch Riesling in 2007 and have been delighted with each vintage. What has been surprising is how different each one has been! The quantity of wind and fog, combined with terribly poor sandy soils makes this site marginal, and each year the vines struggle to ripen their fruit. Although it sounds bad, growing vines in spots where they struggle to ripen their crop is actually a good thing. These marginal sites seem to produce grapes with great intensity of character and superb balance.
It is exciting to release another wine from the great 2010 vintage. The result showcases more than usual the great potential for Riesling from Santa Barbara County. This wine has a powerfully fragrant nose of flowers, ginger and citrus, a racy fresh mouth feel but also a softer, saltier, briny finish. The lower alcohol levels in 2010 help reveal a gentler side of Riesling and frames this delicate, aromatic white wine while preserving its impact.
The grapes were transported to the winery and whole cluster pressed to a stainless steel tank. The juice settled for 12 hours and then put into older French oak barrels for fermentation in a cellar with an ambient temperature of 55 F. This 2010 Riesling was more precocious than previous vintages, so we bottled it after six months. Now, after a year in the bottle, this cool climate Riesling displays aromas of lemon peel and exotic fruits, and possesses a juicy, refreshing, pear like flavor.
Blend: 100% Riesling | Alc: 12.5% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 6 Months | Total Production: 274 cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Green-tinged straw. Racy aromas of lime, grapefruit and pear skin, with deeper notes of agave and herbs in the background. Dry, focused, refreshingly bitter citrus pith flavors pack a solid punch but carry no excess weight. The lime note repeats on the long, sappy, linear finish.” – JR 90 Points