Fortunately, savvy Washington farmers have an insurance system to protect their vines from the cold. Using the earth’s natural insulation, we allow a shoot to grow from the base of the trunk every spring. The green shoot lies along the ground during the growing season, developing the buds that can bear new shoots and grape bunches the following year. The shoot hardens off into wood in the fall, and is now called a cane.
After harvest, we bury every cane with a mound of earth. The heaped dirt provides insulation and protection from the deep Washington cold all winter long. If we suffer a freeze that damages the mature vines, we dig up the buried cane in the spring. The canes will have fresh buds capable of producing a crop that same year, and we don’t have to wait two years to grow another crop.
2008 Buried Cane Chardonnay
$12, 13% abv.
90% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Grigio, 5% Sauvignon Blanc
Fruit forward, firm acidity, peach, melon, short crisp finish. The Middleton wines are all about proper blending, and I think this is a nice mix. Aged in stainless steel, it's a light and refreshing white wine. It's easy to get bored with Chardonnay, but something like this reminds you of the versatility of the grape. In the spring this will be great with grilled seafood.
2008 Buried Cane Cabernet Sauvignon
$13, 13.4% abv.
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec
Great whiff of green tomato leaf on the top, one of my favorite wine aromas. This is produced with an eye toward a Bordeaux style, and with a bit of breathing dark scents of plum and blackberry emerge. Dark fruit flavors follow, making this a great accompaniment for well-seasoned steak.
Note: These wines were received as samples.