Santa Barbara County
Kick On? The owner of Kick On Ranch is an avid fox hunter. He was introduced to the sport in England and was so enthralled by the experience that he set up a full kennel with 50 or 60 dogs and a lovely French trainer on his ranch 9 miles west of the town of Los Alamos in Santa Barbara County. The hunters call out from their horses “kick on” when things aren’t going well, vocalizing that the party should carry on and persevere. I like that spirit and it’s certainly the attitude that has to be taken when growing pinot noir in this area.
In many ways the little Los Alamos valley is inhospitable for vines. Located between Point Sal and Point Conception, just before the California seashore takes a 90 degree turn to the east, this is one windy spot. For centuries mariners have been terrified by this stretch of the coast because of the funneling effect that the three river valleys (Santa Maria, Los Alamos and Santa Ynez) have on local meteorology. The same wind and fog that make ocean navigation difficult also makes it tough on vines. They struggle to grow in such cool conditions, the wind actually inhibiting vine vigor and messing with pollination. But what is bad for the vine is good for wine quality; cool conditions preserve the delicate fragrances that make pinot so special. And specifically here at Kick On the wine expresses its provenance with an earthiness and mineral quality that is beguiling.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 12.5% | Vinification: traditional open top fermentation | Barrel Aging: 13 Months in French Oak, 20% New | Total Production: 192 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2013 Pinot Noir Kick on Ranch Vineyard comes across as a bit compact and tightly wound. At the same time, the 2013 possesses gorgeous aromatics and plenty of depth, so there is a chance the wine will open up in bottle. If that happens, the 2013 will merit a higher rating. Pine, menthol, cedar and leather add attractive lower register notes.”- AG 92 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Much more masculine and muscular than the Puerta del Mar release, the 2013 Pinot Noir Kick On Ranch exhibits lots of wild strawberry, black cherry, crushed violets and distinct minerality to go with a tight, energetic and vibrant feel on the palate. Possessing plenty of acidity and structure, give it a few years in the cellar.”- JD 95 Points