This site is in the cool edge of where it can thrive, at the lower elevations of the Fountain Grove AVA Northeast Santa Rosa. While this is a varietal Grenache, it ripens the same time as Lolita and Calypso (named after the orchid, not the sea-nymph) Syrah in the Western edge of the Russian River Valley AVA which also gave rise to our Huntsman blend. A student and consumer of Grenache for nearly 35 years and as a winemaker for a decade, I find a strong tendency to look at it in context with other varieties with Huntsman and find that there are parts of Kick that perform solo perfectly.
As I often reflect, vinification of this variety is like witnessing a David Bowie concert: Often masculine but turning feminine at the last minute, it always surprises, amuses and is satisfying in the end. It has firmly textured berries that resist crushing. So a significant proportion of them undergo a form of carbonic maceration during fermentation, yielding their magic when in the press turning what was an initially masculine, structured, earthy brute into a more floral, suave, and layered androgynous being.
On the nose, a type of fruitiness that comes from the carbonic berries (which sort of reminds me of my mom’s brandied fruit made around 50 years ago when I was a kid-got to smell, but rarely got to eat) overlays the equal measures of red fruit, peaches and earth, with a dash of petrichor on the side. On the mouth, it is juicy/mouth-watering with rather meaty, savory flavors that captures and echoes the peach slightly and rolls over the tongue with a saline presence like a gentle wave on a sandy beach such as the mythical Ogygia. The fine-grained tannins are present but cloaked in the richness that Grenache typically offers. The result is a somewhat chewy sensation that resolves to smoothness and echoes the meaty/fruity whole that this wine is.
In our research at the dinner table with Kick Ranch Grenache, we have found that it works well with a surprisingly wide range of foods, particularly the Mediterranean type of fare, which is no surprise. But it’s the chewy, then juicy progression that really gets me and something that makes it so versatile at the table. You can serve it with most great Pinot Noir pairings and do the same with many of the Cabernet Sauvignon friendly dishes as well.