We took a road trip up the coast last week to visit friends and vineyards, and liked what we saw in all regards. The vines at Kick On Ranch are pruned, with (thankfully) no budbreak yet. It was windy and cold and beautiful there, as always. Jody noted the light in that vineyard has a quality all its own. It's a special place, holding a sort of rugged contentment that makes you want to stay despite, and because, your hair is blowing in your eyes and mouth; your feet are sinking into the sandy soil, getting snagged by the reedy, discarded branches strewn amid the sprouting barley cover crop. Stay.
Kick On Ranch, looking toward spring
In 2010, we at the j.brix project made our first Riesling with a half-ton of fruit from Kick On Ranch, picked at 19.5 Brix. The idea was an Alsatian style, bone dry, low-alcohol wine that we knew would need years in bottle to develop into something lovely. We ended up with 18 cases (and 11.4 percent ABV). Our friend Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope Wines also got a half-ton, picked at the same time, to make FH's first Riesling. He promptly raised the stakes by turning his into... bubbles.
So, the stage was set for this trip's Green Goblin Reunion; a grand opening of the only two Rieslings in existence from that vineyard picked on that morning, neither one yet ready for the masses, but both definitely ready for a taste. And, oh, what a fascinating tale of two wines! The bubbles, disgorged before our eyes, golden and complex, a delicious story in the making. And The Augur — so named because the fruit in 2010 bore no bird nets (due to the screaming acidity, "the birds don't want it," said the vineyard manager) — well ... it's actually weaving itself into something along the lines of what we'd hoped for.
Yes, I realize the label says 2011. We don't have the 2010 labels yet, on account of that one's not going to be released for, well, years. (2011's another story for another time.)
One of the maddening but delightful things about making wine is that we're never quite sure we really know what we're doing. It seems the sooner we're OK with that, the better. The surprises, the mysteries, the eternal learning curve — and the stirring, sweet pleasure when it all goes right for even just a moment; these keep us moving toward the unknown, welcome adventures to come.
I can't wait.
Wait, we must.