Our Grape Varieties

To the left are pictures and links to information about each of the grape varieties we are proud to grow for our winery clients.

Click on each grape variety image to learn more.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

This green grape varietal, originated in France's Bordeaux and Loire Valley Region. The grape gets its name from the French word 'Sauvage', which means WILD and 'Blanc' that translates into WHITE. The Sauvignon Blanc grape buds late, but ripens early. It flourishes on the rolling hills at Kick Ranch.

Sauvignon Blanc’s varietal aromas and flavors can include gooseberry, lemon-grass, grapefruit, lime, melon, and from other growing areas notes green olive, bell pepper and asparagus. Sauvignon Blanc is naturally high in acidity and is normally tangy and zesty. Sauvignon Blanc is usually consumed young.

We have 9 planted acres of two SB clones - Sauvignon Musque and Sauvignon Blanc 317 - at Kick Ranch. Sauvignon Blanc wines from Kick Ranch grapes have consistently received strong marks and highly favorable reviews from wine enthusiasts.

CellarTracker Notes:

"Citrus flavors dominate the nose with a hint of vanilla. This wine is outragously balanced for a SB. Three distinct parts; the nose is vibrant and grassy at first while giving way to citrus tones over time. The midpalate starts with a salinity that transitions to a creaminess. Very Sancerre-like in texture. There is great acid on the finish but it is not over the top razor-sharp acidity. It plays nice with the midpalate and consequently brings great structure. There is not one aspect of this wine that you can point to that makes you go nuts for it. It is a collective beauty, that has an undisputable deliciousness. Easily the finest American Sauvignon Blanc I've ever had."

Viognier

Viognier

We love the wines made from our 2 acres of viognier with its distinctive aroma of peaches, apricots, and violets. But it can be a very difficult grape to grow because it is prone to mildew, and I have learned it has low and unpredictable yields. Our clients know it should only be picked when fully ripe. When picked too early, the grape fails to develop its wonderful aromas and tastes. When picked too late, the grape lacks its magical fragrance. Viognier’s highly aromatic nose is complemented by moderate acidity and flavors of peaches and minerals in the mouth. Other notable Viognier characteristics are its golden yellow or straw yellow color and soft texture. Some of our winemakers blend a small amount of viognier with syrah in the fashion of some of the most notable Northern Rhone syrah wines.

Syrah

Syrah

We grow stellar syrah at Kick Ranch. We devote 10 acres to 3 special clones of Syrah brought in from vine cuttings from the Northern Rhone. In the Northern Rhone appellations of Hermitage and Côte-Rotie, syrah produces wines of phenomenal elegance and longevity. It is tremendously flexible, and can be made in styles from elegant and restrained through to wines bursting with fruit, in locations as diverse as France, California, South Africa, and Australia (where it is known as Shiraz).

Wines made from Syrah are often powerfully flavored and full-bodied. The variety produces wines with a wide range of flavor notes, depending on the climate and soils where it is grown, as well as the viticultural practices followed. Aroma characters can range from violets to berries (usually dark as opposed to red), chocolate, espresso and black pepper. California Syrahs, much like those in France, vary a great deal based on the climate and the terroir that they inhabit.

Here is how one of our winery partners described their Kick Ranch syrah:

"Deep violet color and heady aromatics of blueberry, spice and fine white pepper are the intriguing introduction to this truly seductive syrah. A bold, viscous palate opens with flavors of fresh‐picked blackberries and currants, savory accents and a hint of tar. Mocha, sage and minerals meld with firm tannins and bright acidity to create a complex, memorable finish."

Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah earned its name from the small size of the berries and not the name of the wine.  Petite Sirah is one of the biggest, most powerful and tannic wines produced in America. Until the early 1960’s, Petite Sirah was one of the most popular grape varieties planted in California, or at least in the Napa Valley.

Petite Sirah has long been an important blending grape, prized primarily for its deep color and fairly intense tannin. It is the variety most often chosen to blend into zinfandel for added complexity, structure, and to tone down the tendency of zins toward "jammy" fruit. As a base wine or stand-alone varietal, vintners often introduce a small portion of white wine into Petite Sirah to calm the intensity with little effect on color.

Petite Sirah produces inky dark, purple colored wines that offer flavors of black pepper, blackberries, blueberries, spice and licorice. Do not confuse this grape with wine produced from the similarly named Syrah variety. They are not the same grape and they do deliver similar taste sensations. Petite Sirah wines are often, massive, intense, chewy, masculine wines that when they are young, provide massive amounts of tannin and high levels of acidity. 

On its own, the appeal of Petite Sirah is more visceral than specifically-flavored. Usually high in pigment and tannin, young wines may show dark berry and plum fruit characteristics. Wines made from Petite Sirah age slowly and can survive fairly long cellaring of ten years or more.

Petite Sirah makes for a big wine which really pairs perfectly with a wide variety of big dishes. Meats, stews, braised and grilled meats are excellent food and wine matches for Petite Sirah. Short Ribs and Petite Sirah works great as well.

From the Wine Cellar Insider

Mourvedre

Mourvedre

We have one acre of Mourvèdre grafted in 2008 to rootstock planted in 2001. The past couple cool summers have made it difficult for us to ripen this new planting, but we are intrigued by its potential at Kick Ranch. Mourvedre can provide structure, backbone, and aging potential to a wine. It is often blended with syrah and grenache in a Chateauneuf du Pape style or “GSM”. Mourvedre tastes of ripe plum and strawberry fruit, with animal flavors of red meat and mushrooms when young, and leather and truffles as it ages. Dark purple-black color.

Cinsault

Cinsault

We have an acre of Cinsault at Kick Ranch. U.S. plantings are minimal, and are primarily by those producers fittingly described as 'Rhone Rangers'. This variety is almost never seen as a single varietal wine, except in South Africa. It rarely is the dominant grape in a wine, even in southern French regions. However, on its own, it can be made into an excellent Rose. We planted it to add intrigue for the wineries buying Kick Ranch syrah and grenache. In these wines, Cinsault contributes a soft, but meaty texture. Also,Chateau Potelle in Napa makes an excellent Rose from Kick Ranch!

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is now the most famous red wine grape in the world. What you might find surprising is, it was created relatively recently. At some point in the 17th century, French wine growers crossed Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc to create a unique grape with special flavors and tough, thick skins that made it easy to grow and harvest.

Cabernet Sauvignon is now the most famous red wine grape in the world. What you might find surprising is, it was created relatively recently. At some point in the 17th century, French wine growers crossed Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc to create a unique grape with special flavors and tough, thick skins that made it easy to grow and harvest. Cabernet Sauvignon not only makes sublime wine in Bordeaux, it is perhaps the most important grape in California.

The actual Cabernet Sauvignon berries are small. They have dark colored, thick skins and can, under the correct conditions, become intensely, concentrated with flavor. It is the ability to offer concentrated flavors, refined textures and complex aromatics, along with high levels of tannin allowing the wine to age and evolve that make this an ideal grape for producing wine.

At its best, Cabernet Sauvignon produces wines with deep, dark colors that offer complex scents and concentrated flavors ranging from blackberries, creme de cassis, black cherries, boysenberry, blueberry and chocolate when young, to fragrances of tobacco, truffle, cedar wood, earth, lead pencil and leather when mature. When the berries are not ripe, distinct aromas of green peppers or olives can be found. The wines can be rich and concentrated, as well as tannic. Cabernet Sauvignon wines have the ability to age for decades when grown in good soils and allowed ample time to ripen.

Cabernet Sauvignon comes in a wide variety of styles. Some wines are riper, richer and more powerful, others offer a more elegant taste, texture and feel. In young Cabernet Sauvignon, the tannic structure makes it the perfect wine and grape to pair with fatty cuts of meat, lamb veal and pork. Due to its earthy quality, dishes with mushrooms also work well. Cabernet Sauvignon is also perfect for a myriad of different cheeses. There are fans of matching riper styles of Cabernet Sauvignon with chocolate based dishes.

From the Wine Cellar Insider