• Stirm, "Wirz Vineyard" Old Vine Riesling 2018

Stirm, "Wirz Vineyard" Old Vine Riesling 2018

Riesling|Cienega Valley

Led by the eponymous Ryan Stirm, this Pinot comes from one of my favorite "natural" wine producers in California. I bracket "natural" to convey that their wines aren't funky, cloudy, or otherwise questionable – all the vineyards they use are organic or biodynamic; their processes completely natural; their wines clean, precise, and utterly delicious.

They work with some of the most historic vineyard sites in California, from the historic Wirz Vineyard in the Cienega Valley, to the Kick-On Ranch in Santa Barbara. Their heralded Pinot Noirs and Rieslings are elegant, long-aging, and among the finest examples of natural wine excellence. Ryan Stirm believes that the "two best tools" they use in the vineyard are simply their hands. No chemicals, no machinery; every bunch is hand-harvested to ensure optimal ripeness and quality.

The Wirz vineyard, in the picturesque Cienega Valley east of Monterey, is arguably one of the finest sites for Riesling in the country. Pat Wirz planted the Riesling in this vineyard in 1964 and they're still there to this day. These gnarly, rugged old vines are unirrigated (dry-farmed) and organically farmed. It's as close as you get to the land, a sense of terroir, and a snapshot of the gravelly-limestone bedrock perfectly captured in the bottle.

Bursting with stone fruit and citrus peel, wet stone, and wintermint this is an awesome winter white. Fermented totally DRY, the wine is laser focused, minerally, and bright; one gets a sense of salinity in the lime-zesty, finish. With this cold spell upon us, the wine begs for a dozen briny oysters with mignonette or any other fruits of the sea. Delish!

Small wonder, then, that this wine costs as little as it does considering the love and effort that goes into it. 

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