2014 Ryan Stirm Riesling Kick-On Ranch
Region: Central Coast < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; sandy loam soil made up of a mix of eolian sand dunes and alluvial deposits; hand harvested; 12 hours skin contact; aged on lees in neutral barrel; minimal added SO2
Winemaker: Ryan Stirm
Riesling can be a bit of a divisive variety. Though it’s the uncontested darling of many sommeliers and wine folks, the ones we all actually drink after a long floor shift or a long day of palate-numbing tastings, it’s a hard sell for most wine drinkers. Our experience, and that of many somms, is that Riesling is often met with eye rolls, and the expectation of cloying aromatics and sweetness. But Ryan Stirm, a true advocate for Riesling, would change any anybody’s mind with his wines, which are pure, pristine and bone-dry — forget Riesling, these are just excellent white wines that you WANT to drink. He ferments with whole clusters and native yeasts, producing honest, authentic wines that speak of the vintage and the land. This 2014 Riesling comes from his plot at Kick On Ranch north of Santa Barbara, which he is farming organically, and going through the certification process. Kick On is perhaps one of the best vineyards for Riesling in all of California and with an expert like Stirm at the helm, the results are pure brilliance. Dry but still loads of texture and layers of green apple, white flowers and unripe peach; let this wine breathe and then shine at the table with pork or an onion tart.