Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sacrificing Canes for Quality

The Sacrificial Cane experiment is a technique used by Peter Fraser and the Santa Barabara County vineyard team at the Barham Ranch. This technique is employed to develop small, concentrated, dark Syrah berries with riper tannins and more elegant fruit flavor profiles.

How it works: At the beginning of the season the vines are trained to produce additional fruit on two extra canes. The vines are kept healthy and strong from budburst to flowering to encourage high yields.

Water is kept very tight from fruit set to verasion. Since the vines carry more fruit that needs to be ripened, the vine naturally limits the size of the individual berries, which is exactly what we want.

At close to 90% verasion the two sacrificial canes are cut and, in some cases, drop more than 1/3 of the crop. The timing is crucial on when to remove the canes. Cut them too soon and the berries will become fat. Cut them too late and the plant has been robbed of vital verasion energy.

The final and crucial part is irrigation from full verasion to harvest. The extra watering slows the ripening and the sugars began to plateau. If everything goes as planned, the vines will produce top-notch Syrah – bright fruit; the ripe tannins with concentration and lushness.

Vineyard Characteristics

Is the backbone, theBarry Bonds of the team. Dark, blackberry fruits. It
has big chewy tannins. And consequently dominates the team.

Is the spice, the finesse, dark cherry. The tannins are grainier and silky. This
is the "queer eye for the straight guy" part of the blend, the style police.

Is bright, perfumed and red fruits, acidity and length. I can’t think of a
celebrity for this one? Definitely metro sexual too..., maybe the style
police travel in twos.

Put this all together to get a young George Clooney style


alsam said...

I had the Syrah last night in San Jose. Two yums on the yum scale!

alsam said...

Had some Kinton Syrah last night. Two yums on the yum scale. Oh yeah!