Santa Barbara County
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.
Planted on poor sandy soil, the vines struggle to produce even a modest crop, and even in the prolific 2014 vintage, we barely got 2 ½ tons to the acre in the section of vineyard we chose for this vineyard designated bottling. Those low yields gave us a high impact wine! Right out of the gate one notices the transparent ruby red color, which might be of concern, but this is pinot and it’s ok not to be the black wine of Cahors. And then you take a whiff, and my gosh, what a voluminous and compelling aroma of cherry, earth and spices. It brings me right to Burgundy. The mouth-feel is far easier going than Burgundy though, the flavors are fabulously delicious and downright gulpable.
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
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“A big, virile wine, the 2014 Pinot Noir Kick On Ranch Vineyard shows the richer, earthier side of Santa Barbara Pinot. Crushed flowers, tobacco, menthol, licorice and pine are some of the notes that emerge first, while the fruit lies more in the background. This is an especially savory/earthy style of Pinot. Ideally, readers should cellar the 2014 for another year or so, as the tannins and acidity are both prominent at this stage.”- AG 93 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“A very pretty, elegant example of this cuvee, the 2014 Pinot Noir Kick On Ranch offers notes of black cherries, lots of minerality, spring flowers and exotic spices in its medium-bodied, fresh, lightly textured and beautifully pure personality. There’s a sappy greenness here, but it handles it nicely and this elegant, silky red will drink nicely for 4-5 years.”- JD 91 Points