Unrefined Red 2011

2011 Unrefined Red

(26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 16% Tannat, 10% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Mourvedre)

$15.00 per bottle




This wine is all Steve Buscemi from Boardwalk Empire. Refined and friendly, but packs a mean streak. It’s soft and approachable, but should not be underestimated for its complexity and food friendly acidity. Simply put this stuff is edgy, but refined.  Great fruit, great structure, Boneyard style pleasure.

Food Pairing: 

My favorite so far is Braised Rabbit in a Tomato and Boneyard Red sauce over herbed Pappardelle.  That said it is also awesome with Grilled Salmon or even some Burgers or Pizza.  This is the wine to enjoy every day.  Like everything with Boneyard wines, it needs no rules.


The 2011 Boneyard Red is absolutely a testament to wine sometimes playing by the rules on one old philosophy about the sum of all parts may be greater.  We worked for months on blending trials with the 2011 reds and every attempt we made we found that the best wine for the vintage was including all varieties from all vineyards into our Red blend.  By including some of our top blocks from our favorite sites we were able to make the Boneyard Red a wine of special complexity, caressing tannins, great balanced acidity and a medium body frame.  We were quite excited.

The reds in 2011 were treated differently than most years.  We utilized very little cold soaking and the macerations were shorter given the lesser integrity of some fruit given the rains.  The wines were all pressed at dryness with only 4 days being the shortest maceration and 12 days being the longest.  From there we separated our press fractions and free run from each lot and aged them separately for 6 months before blending all the components and sending back to barrel for a further 9 months.  During the initial 6 month period we stirred the lees bi-weekly all Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah barrels to try to get a little more weight and depth.  The wine was lightly filtered and not.

Vineyard Information:

The fruit for the Boneyard Red came from several vineyards around Virginia including:  Nevaeh (Hill, Road and Pond Blocks), Honah Lee Vineyards, and Tranquility Vineyard.

The Hill Block of Nevaeh vineyard is a south facing slope that creates most of Tarara’s best fruit.  The soils are deeper and there is better air movement coming from the closer proximity to the Potomac River.  This helps the fruit enjoy a longer potential hang time in Loudoun’s warmer fall evenings.  There are several limestone deposits that cut through the Hill block because of its close proximity to the river.  The fruit from the Hill tends to be well structured and more complex showing a great combination of bright berry fruit and minerality.

The Syrah is from the Road Block which is consistently the hottest part of the Nevaeh Vineyard with the exception of one cool pocket the lies at the Southwest corner of the Syrah.  The hotter portions give more weight and riper fruit characters whereas the cooler portion brings balancing acidity and older world styled smoky and meaty characters.  The Road Block is predominately Penn Silt Loam so causes slightly shallower root systems and more fruit forward wines to blend with the mineral driven Hill Block.

The Pond Block which is the coolest site in the Nevaeh Vineyard which is great for preserving aromatics and acidity in certain varietals like Merlot.  It too has many limestone deposits closest to the river valley but it predominately a looser sand soil than the rest of the vineyard.  This allows for better rain drainage that was particularly good in 2011 to allow some riper and more concentrated wines.  The wines tend to be fresher, more aromatics with citrus and floral notes.

The Honah Lee Vineyard is a steep South East facing slope sitting at about 1300 feet elevation in the mountains just outside Orange, VA.  The soils consist of hard red clay leading to more fruit driven wines.  The wines tend to get very exotic characters to them while maintaining a balance of acidity due to their great sunlight exposure, as well as the cooler nights from the elevation.  The vines are all trained on cordon pruned vertical shoot positioning to best collect sunlight exposure and minimize pressures.  We have worked with Honah Lee since 2007 when we first made D9 from their Touriga Nacional.  Now we source Viognier, Roussanne, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, Petit Verdot, Tannat and Pinotage from Honah Lee.

Tranquility Vineyard is a seven acre vineyard planted in 1999 by its owners: Al and Mary Taylor.  Set in the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont, the vineyard sits at about 510 feet above sea level.  The original planting included 4 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by one acre of Tannat in 2005.  The final planting was about 1 and 3/4 acres of Pinot Gris in 2007.  The soils are primarily comprised of “Pennsylvania Silt Loam”, are very nutritionally rich and very rocky as well.  The majority of the rows run in a North/South direction, with just one acre that runs East/West.  Tannat, Pinot Gris and half of the Cabernet Sauvignon use a Vertical Shoot Trellis system, while the other half of the Cabernet Sauvignon is on a modified “Smart Dyson” system.  The fall of the land is outstanding for both air and water drainage, making it a great location for a vineyard.  The grapes have never been irrigated and thus have very deep roots, making them more drought resistant.

The Cabernet and Tannat have gained the most attention in the last 5 years, being sold to wineries that have produced award winning wines from them, thus putting them in high demand.  In 2005 Ben Renshaw took over the management of the vineyard and has maintained it ever since.  Now Tranquility Vineyard is being leased entirely by Tarara Winery with Ben still managing.

Harvest Conditions:

The 2011 was one where the winemakers earned their pay check.  The Virginia 2011 harvest will always be remembered as one of the wettest with being hit by both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  That said it sounds much worse than it was.  The entire summer leading up to the harvest time was hot and bone dry which had the grapes ripening at extreme levels almost like 2010.  That meant there are some wines made with fabulous ripe flavors and great tannin ripeness, but they tend to be on a more light to medium body frame with more moderate alcohol levels.

At Boneyard Wines we actually benefited from some of this odd whether.  While some shied away from the challenge, we hit it head on.  We were able to secure fruit from some of the very best vineyards that still pulled of some great fruit.  All these wines greatly benefited from having the best blocks and fruit leading to a vintage of finesse and subtlety.