Tarara Vineyard & Winery winemaker Jordan Harris presented a selection of his new brand, Boneyard Wines to the monthly twitter chat #VAWineChat. These wines diverge from the traditional Tarara brand in that they are more experimental and consist of entry level as well as "uber" luxury options. The labels are very cool - earth movers digging up the boneyard - which respects Tarara's tradition by honoring a field where old wine making and vineyard equipment are sent to rust. The tasting for the evening consisted of the Boneyard 2012 Skins (Rkatsiteli orange wine), the Boneyard Boneyard Bubbles Blanc de Blanc, the Boneyard 2012 Cabernet Franc, and Boneyard 2010 Syrah.
We started with the much anticipated Boneyard 2012 Skins ($20), much anticipated in the sense that I am a deep believer in Rkatsiteli. In order to create an orange wine, the juice was macerated on its skins for 31 days, followed by mild oak treatment. In general, this type of wine possesses a floral aroma, with spicy characters in the palette and finish - with plenty of acidity. Unfortunately, the Boneyard Skins did not live up to my expectations; the floral aroma was present but the wine lacked both acidity and the spicy characters. Yet, I applaud Jordan for his experiment - keep on digging....
The Bubbles Blanc de Blanc ($35), on the other hand, nailed all expectations. The wine was produced from Chardonnay grapes harvested in 2009 and then vinified using methodoise champagne traditions. The wine was then bottled aged on its lees for 3 and a half years, developing texture and creaminess, before being disgorged and undergoing secondary fermentation. There sparkling wine is clean, fresh with plenty of effervescence, as well as gentle green apple and citrus flavors. Well done.
Only 26 cases were made from the Boneyard 2012 Cabernet Franc so this wine is only available for Case Club members. The wine spent 12 months in oak and despite the oak, is a medium bodied, fruit forward wine with very smooth tannins. The nose has a little smoke and tobacco, but the palette is a mixture of blackberries and raspberries. I enjoyed this one, but so long - unless I join the Case Club.
We finished with the Boneyard 2010 Syrah ($100) - yes the most expensive Virginia wine to date - more than those from RDV Vineyards. The Syrah was co-fermented with 6% Viognier and then aged 38 months in oak; Jordan is a self-described Rhône geek. Like the Cab Franc, the tannins are smooth - yet the flavor is more plum and finishes with plenty of spice. Like the other wines, this one is closed with the screwcap and it needed to breathe for awhile to allow the Viognier floral notes and fruit to develop. Before breathing, the wine raced straight to the spicy finish. The price point speaks for itself, and we will let buyers express their rational. Cheers.