STIRM WINE CO
Ryan Stirm is a true Riesling fanatic. His arguments for why Riesling works so well in California are hard to refute after tasting his wines. He started his winemaking career in the US, teaming up with the now legendary Justin Willett from Tyler and Lieu Dit. After four years, he ended up working in the Wachau, Austria where he fell further in love with Riesling as well as Grüner Veltliner.
His winemaking philosophy is quite simple. They whole cluster press everything, allow for short periods of skin contact, avoid SO2 until fermentation has completed, let indigenous yeast do their jobs, and fine/filter as minimally as possible. The ultimate goal is to let the vineyards shine through.
As of 2016, he has finally accomplished his goal of farming his own tiny vineyard: a 2-acre plot of Pinot Noir high up in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Moving forward, it’s his goal to farm more and see the wine through from ground to bottle.
2017 KICK-ON RIESLING
Kick-On vineyard is located 16km east of the ocean in Los Alamos Valley, just north of Santa-Barbara. As this is an offshoot of the transverse range, the valley runs west-east which means oceanic breezes cool the vineyard daily. Ryan’s vineyard block is planted mostly on windblown sand with just a pinch of clay and chirt cobbles. 2016 say a wet winter which helped replenish the water-table, but yields were still incredibly low. Cold nights helped retain acidity and they eventually harvested on September 14th at 21.1 Brix. The grapes were macerated as whole clusters for a full day before being pressed off into stainless steel. After three days of cold settling the juice was racked into stainless steel for wild fermentation. No Sulphur was added until after malolactic conversion. The wine was bottled on June 27th without fining, not filtration. 12.9% ABV
(227 Cases Produced) 792992
KICK-ON EOLIAN RIESLING
The grapes were crushed and were permitted to sit on the skins for 6 hours. Botrytised grapes were vinified separately. Sulphur was only added after secondary fermentation and right before bottling. The wine fermented in stainless steel but élevage was carried out in neutral puncheons. The botrytised wine was blended back in several weeks before bottling. 12.3% ABV (TA 7.7, pH 3.11, RS 0.5g/l)
(42 Cases Produced) 792993
2016 SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS PINOT NOIR
In 2016 Ryan took over farming a tiny vineyard near the mountain town of Glenwood, east of Santa Cruz. Planted in 1997, this organic two-acre plot is on a 30% grade. It is neither tilled nor irrigated. Soils here are mostly sandy loam, decomposed from lompico sandstone. This truly is a vineyard in the forest – it’s surrounded by redwoods, oak, and bay trees. After a growing season defined by cool night, the grapes were harvested on September 12th. Whole clusters were fermented in open-top fermenter for nine days before being pressed off into neutral oak puncheon. After 18 months, the wine was racked and bottled.
(60 Cases Produced) 802093
Own-rooted, head trained, dry farmed Riesling vines planted in the 60s are what make this wine so special. Sitting at 1000 feet above sea level, Wirz Vineyard is in the obscure Cienega Valley on the San Andreas Fault Line. The grapes were harvested with about 2% botrytis. Whole clusters were crushed and the juice macerated with the skins for a short period. Spontaneous fermentation was carried out in stainless steel and the wine spent the next several months on the fine lees. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. 13.5% ABV (TA 7g, pH 3.25, RS 0.7g/l)
(98 Cases Produced) 792995
Despite the unassuming packaging, this is a serious wine. The grapes come from the organically farmed Zabala vineyard in Arroyo Seco (Monterey). They were harvested in two passes for optimal ripeness. The strong cool winds here kept the grapes relatively free from botrytis. The grapes were whole-cluster crushed and the juice sat with the skins for a full day. Spotaneous fermentation occurred at low temperatures in stainless steel. The wine was then lightly sulphured and the temperature was dropped to prevent malolactic conversion. The wine is lightly filtered but not fined and canned with CO2 left over from fermentation. 11% ABV (TA 7.5g, pH 3.11, RS 5.1g/l)
(225 Flats Produced) 792996
OLD VINE GRÜNER VELTLINER
In 1972 Rancho Arroyo Perdido became one of the earliest vineyards planted in Santa Ynes. The original block of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc were dry farmed thanks to the valleys accumulation of deep, dark clay-loam. In 2008 a small portion of the vines were grafter over to Grüner Veltliner – the 50+ year old rootstocks are still doing their job beautifully. The grapes were harvested on September 28th and were whole-cluster crushed. The juice macerated with the skins for a day before being pressed off into stainless-steel for cold settling. The wine is then racked into fresh stainless steel for spontaneous fermentation; no Sulphur is added until after malolactic conversion. The wine is bottled on June 27th after a third racking. 11.2% ABV
(145 Cases Produced) 792994