Eric Kent Wine Cellars
The Vineyard Tour




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Just west of Santa Rosa in the southern Russian River Valley, Atoosa’s vineyard has been the source of some of the finest California Syrah we've tasted and we're thrilled to source this fruit. The site was originally intended for Pinot Noir, which is more typical for the area. But owner Tuck Bierbaum’s wife Atoosa suggested they plant Syrah in honor of her Persian heritage, where Syrah is believed to have originated. This end of the valley still gets plenty of fog and has cold nights, but being on the eastern border, the fog tends to recede in the morning and allow the vineyard to warm up fairly early in the day. Will Syrah always fully ripen here? After three unusually cold years, the answer may depend on your definition of "ripe". At the moment we're willing to say "ripe enough" to produce varietally true wines of great balance and character. Our 2012 Barrel Climber Syrah is a full 87.5% from this vineyard and we could not be happier with the wine. Is there a vineyard designate on the horizon? Stay tuned!

We work with three clones: ENTAV 470, 174, and 877, all with a target of 3-3.5 tons per acre. This cooler vineyard harvests late in the year, toward the end of October or even into November. Deficit irrigation is used to manage Syrah’s tendency to high vigor. And cover crops with no tilling are used between the rows to mitigate dust and mite problems, and also to ensure tractor access to the vineyard after any rains. The rows are oriented east to west, with modest leaf pulling on the north side for air flow, and leaves on the south side left on the vine to protect the clusters from direct sunlight. A three-wire vertical shoot positioned trellis allows for a canopy that is about 4 feet tall, helping provide the energy to ripen Syrah in this cooler region.

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