Tag Archive for 'discing'

Weed Abatement Lafond Vineyards

Weeds miraculously grow even when there is no rain. You can disc the rows but in between the vines it is more difficult. There are three ways to control the weeds. You can hoe by hand, which is incredibly expensive, and we sometimes have to resort to this if the weeds are large and out of control. The second is herbicide, similar to what many people use on their lawns, but you can only do it when plants are dormant, and it is not in keeping with our goal of sustainable farming.

The third is mechanical. The photo shows a new machine, we are testing, which consists of blades on both sides which shear the weeds just below ground and retract when passing a vine. Many of the machines we have tried and used in the past took out the weeds but they also took out the vine. This machine looks very promising and we plan on using it next spring.

The driver is working a Chardonnay block we planted last year. Weeds are always more difficult the first two years because of the need to water more frequently, as the plant matures and develops its root system there is much less need to irrigate.

Pinot Passport Recap

Joanie Hudson writes in the Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro Blog:

Last night’s Pinot Noir tasting provided an exciting look as to what the world of that varietal has to offer, literally. Taking samples from four distinct regions, and presenting them side by side is a lesson on wine that you can’t get from any amount of reading. The most crowded tasting yet took over the entire restaurant with the four tables spread around the perimeter of the room.

First stop was the Sta. Rita Hills, where we sampled two different vintages from the region from Santa Barbara Winery and Lafond. The only 2007 of the bunch was the Santa Barbara Winery Pinot Noir, which we sampled first as we snatched a deliciously spiced pulled lamb slider to bite into between tastes. A very concentrated vintage, this 07 Pinot really just jumps out at you with rich dark fruit and intensity. Vintage 2007 is from 10 vineyard sites up to 18 years old and from eight different Pinot Noir clones.

At the same table was another representative from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Santa Barbara Winery’s sister label, Lafond. For the 2006 Lafond SRH Pinot Noir Winemaker Bruce McGuire chose very specific sites in the vineyard for each of his Pinot Noir selections. In 2006, Bruce chose 6 clones from 16 vineyard lots at two vineyards (Lafond and its neighbor Arita Hills Vineyard. Nice to be able to taste the sister winery selections next to each other – same winemaker, different vintage, different philosophy to wine productions. I grabbed a second irresistible slider to go with my second taste.

All the way on the other side of the restaurant were the other three tables. I went with New Zealand’s 2006 Wild Earth Winery Central Otago Pinot next. First I tried one of the sesame tuna on cucumber discs nibbles, which was so tasty on its own, but a tiny bit too spicy for the wine – would have been delicious with an off dry Riesling. But I enjoyed tasting it with the wine only to demonstrate how certain pairings succeed or fail. This wine was a screw cap so there was some debating going on in conversations around me as to what this does for the wine. For me, screw cap or no screw cap, I’m going for what’s inside of the bottle. Pinot is the most widely planted red variety in New Zealand, where the main star is Sauvignon Blanc. There is about half as much Pinot planted as Sauvignon Blanc in this up and coming wine region that has an ideal climate for growing Pinot Noir. This wine was fruit driven, yet savory and earthy – very approachable in its youth. The 30% new oak aging came through a little bit on both the nose and palate. Watch out for those New Zealand Pinots, it is definitely an up and coming player in the wine world…

Next was the French Burgundy, which was the 2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Bougogne Rouge. This was quite the departure from the other new world Pinots with a subtlety and finesse that is inherent in quality French Burgundies. It was more subdued and elegant than the rest of the bunch. Bistro sommelier Zach Blair was fielding questions left and right from behind the table, very excited about the quality for the value of this wine. Another delicious appetizer was served alongside the wine at this table – baked Camambert on crostini with a pear walnut dressing. This nutty and rich treat was so tasty, with most of the flavor coming from the oozing cheese.

Last stop brought me back to the United States with Oregon’s Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The 2006 Benton Lane Pinot Noir table wins the award for best wine pairing of the night. Served with this wine was the classic pairing of mushrooms, prepared in a small tartlette that could be eaten in just one or two bites. This was an example of how when wine and food come together there are certain pairings that really just bring out elements of each other, highlighting certain strengths and flavors in each. In this case it was the intense and intoxicating aromas and flavors of earthy mushrooms. Each bite and sip seemed to exponentially bring out this element, definitely a perfect ending to the tasting.

Return to the Bistro website for information on February’s Passport to the World of Wine tasting. This event will happen on the first Wednesday of each month.

Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery