Kick-on Ranch - Riesling
This is a small vineyard located in western Los Alamos, close to the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The town of Los Alamos is wedged between the Santa Maria Valley and the Santa Ynez Valleys in Santa Barbara County. Frigid winds coming off of the cold Pacific Ocean waters flow though this vineyard daily; helping to keep it cool and dry. The owners allow me to do as much as the farming as I see fit, but I am lucky enough to have Jeff Frey doing most of the work. The soil is a very sandy loam. This is a younger site with a huge future due to its climate. The wine I designate "Kick-on Ranch" gets the full "Austrian treatment', meaning some skin contact and aged in neutral wood. The outcome is a wine with floral, and mineral aromas. On the palette it exhibits citrus fruits, a wonderful salinity, and great length. This is the most age worthy of all of my wines and I highly recommend decanting it.
Vandenberg - Riesling
This wine is a blend of multiple pickings from multiple sites in Santa Barbara County. A majority of the fruit comes from "Kick-on Ranch," while the rest comes from other older vineyards in the area. Typically, the selection for Vandenberg are grapes with a higher percentage of Botrytis, or "Noble Rot." The result is a richer more fruit driven wine. It has more of the stone fruit flavors often associated with Riesling, nice minerality, and some slight botrytis notes often expressed as honey, or pollen. The reason the wine is called Vandenberg is because the Kick-on Ranch is located about a mile from the Air Force Base with the same name.
Oliver's - Riesling
Oliver’s vineyard is most famous for being one of the Talley family’s prime holdings for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Unknown to most however, is the fact that they have a micro amount of Riesling on this vineyard. It grows on a wind exposed section of diablo series clay and chert. Natural low yields and essentially dry-farmed make for an intense wine. I love how the bright aromatics of this wine are held by a strong acid core on the palate.
For three generations the Talley family has farmed in Coastal San Luis Obispo County, a tradition that began in 1948 when Oliver Talley founded Talley Farms and started growing vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley. In short order, Oliver came to be recognized for the exceptional quality of the vegetables he grew, especially bell peppers. After witnessing the success of winegrowing in the neighboring Edna Valley, Oliver's son, Don Talley, became convinced of the potential for growing high-quality wine grapes on the steep hillsides above Talley Farms. He planted a small test plot in 1982 on the west hillside of the Rincon Vineyard.
Sisquoc - Riesling
Rancho Sisquoc is a huge property (38,000 acres) and by no means is it all planted to vineyards. They grow flowers, fruit trees, raise cattle, and some of the land is just left wild. The Riesling is planted on a low northern faced river bed of loam, silt, and cobblestones. It is on its own roots and the vines now 40 years of age. It is a silky textured wine with nice stone fruits, citrus, and a hint of petroleum.
Lafond - Riesling
Planted in 1972 by Pierre Lafond, this wine has a special place in my history. It was the first Riesling site I worked with at Santa Barbara Winery in the mid 90's. The vines are planted just above the Santa Ynez Riverbank on sandy loam, and silt soils. This wine offers intense floral aromas and a combination of wet rock, stone fruit, and citrus flavors. In the past few years, this extreme site has offered just under one ton per acre.
Paragon - Grüner Veltliner
Paragon Vineyard is sustainably farmed, and sits on a west facing slope just a couple miles inland from the Pacific Ocean; it is grown on a soil structure of marl, quartz, and limestone. It exhibits green fruit flavors such as cucumber, green papaya, and celery salt. On the front pallet it shows its tremendous acidity but finishes with more of an oily texture. The lower alcohol and bracing acidity make this Grüner Veltliner a great Spring and Summer sipper.
Meeresboden - Grüner Veltliner
The name translates to "Ocean Soil", in this case, sand. This wine is blended from several small plantings along hillsides in Santa Barbara County. The common thread besides all being cool climate sites is that they share a similar soil structure of sand, diatomaceous earth, and loam. Meeresboden is balanced with stone fruit, and yellow citrus flavors, as well as a salty, kelp-like minerality. Young, this wine is bright and racy, with age it becomes silky and more honeyed.