Santa Barbara County
Growing Pinot Noir this far south generally entails growing very near the coast. Out at Kick On Ranch, vines are right in line with a wind gap that feeds cool Pacific inflected air throughout the vineyard, which is just a few miles inland in the Los Alamos Valley. For years during the drought that influence was blunted by stagnant warm air masses, but 2016 provided a welcome return to onshore breezes which gave the vines a good summertime scrubbing.
The switch to mild weather gave us a gradual staggered harvest, so we got to pick at just the right time and all the vineyards had lots of time to build personality. After getting through a thin lacquer of pretty lilac aromas there’s an almost arrogantly macho quality to this wine, with pipe tobacco, dusty leather, and sagebrush all popping up in the mix. At first the palate is all earth and mushroomy umami, then air brings out candied red fruits and pomegranate with nervy persistence.
In the drought years Kick On gave softness and laid-back pleasure, like the brush of a lover’s hand. 2016 gave us a more deep and sprung loaded kind of expression that’s a throwback of sorts to our 2011 special bottling. We also decided to give this wine a few more days on its skins, which brought that feel of virility full circle with some good tannic grip. With this kind of density and tension the wine will age gracefully (like the 2011), though the flavors and aromas are plenty open for enjoying now. Something flavorful but not heavy (like pasta with ham hocks or glazed salmon) will bring out a lot of beauty in this wine.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 12.5% | Vinification: traditional open top fermentation | Barrel Aging: 13 Months in French Oak, 25% New | Total Production: 180 cases
“The medium-bodied, vibrant 2016 Pinot Noir Kick On is another age-worthy effort that has everything in the right places. Perfumed notes of mulberries, dried flowers, strawberries, and menthol, medium body, bright acidity, and fine tannins all make for a beautiful Pinot Noir that will benefit from short-term cellaring and keep for a decade.” Jeb Dunnuck- 92+ Points
Antonio Galloni’s VINOUS
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Kick On Ranch is another pretty and highly expressive wine in this range. Done in a slender, slightly nervous style, the 2016 is built on expressive aromatics and notable persistence, with the fruit lying more in the background. It will be interesting to see if this reticent, tightly wound Pinot gains a bit more flesh with time in the bottle.” 2018-2026 92 Points