2014 Unrefined Rose
(57% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon)
(44% Front Royal, 56% Nevaeh)
$18.00 per bottle
A beautiful salmon colored Rose with stunning fresh strawberry and raspberry aromatics joined with subtle tones of herbs. The palate is fresh and inviting with great acidity, more lively fruit and a charming mouthfeel. A delicious light to medium bodied Rose that should be enjoyed now.
This is a great wine to just chill out around the grill with some friends. Maybe do up some simple grilled shrimp or a grilled Marguerita pizza with fresh heirloom tomatoes and garden basil. That is my kind of summer afternoon.
The Unrefined Rose in 2014 was made by two methods. The Merlot coming from the Front Royal site was harvested early and specifically for Rose while maintaining brighter acids. This fruit was whole cluster pressed to neutral Jupilles forest French oak for fermentation. The Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Road block were harvested as a field blend in late October and destemmed for red production. The Rose portion was a 15% Saignee that we did from that tank. This means to bleed off 15% of the juice to concentrate the red fermentation and also have a deeper and richer component for the Rose. The saignee occurred after being on the skins for 24 hours. The juice was bled directly to neutral Jupilles forest French oak for fermentation. Post-fermentation both lots were blended and left to sit on the lees for 4 months prior to be being filtered and bottled in February 2015.
The fruit from this vineyard was sourced from the Road block of Nevaeh Vineyard (56%) and a partner vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley AVA just outside Front Royal. The Front Royal vineyard was exclusively Merlot and the Road block supplied some additional Merlot and all of the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The steep west facing slope and higher elevation (approx. 1100 feet) of the Front Royal vineyard leads to both ripe fruit character from the abundance of afternoon sunlight and heat but also preserves acidity from the cooler night time temperatures from the altitude. The soils is heavily granite based leading to more austere and mineral driven wines adding great layers to this wine.
The Road block is a strange anomaly for us in that it is our hottest block in Nevaeh but also often the last to be harvested. The flat nature and denser soils slow the ripening of these vines and tend to push them toward being totally fruit forward expressions. For this wine it is certainly the case.
The 2014 vintage will always be remembered at Tarara as a year where you hurry up and wait and then run like crazy and repeat. The growing season was rather uneventful which was largely due to greater efforts than ever before in our vineyard. While some vineyards in the area found the season a bit too wet and struggles with downy mildew our vineyard was the cleanest it has ever been. That was incredibly important going into this hit and miss harvest season.
It was an extremely late start to the growing season and generally slow all year long so we felt ripening was going to be a challenge on many varieties (especially the later Cabernets). We did not have most of the vineyard through bud break until May even this year. That combined with the chilly summer was what pushed that thought.
The harvest time of September worked out well for us. We have a couple of well-timed rains that essentially prolonged the growing season to allow the fruit longer on the vines. It was not enough to create a real damage or dilution, just slow the process. We would be picking several blocks right before each rain only to allow the rest to hang at least 7-10 days after any rain to recover and gain ripe flavors. In the end it was picking in spirts and well worth it. The wines have better concentration than we imagined and some of the riper flavors we have seen while maintaining an enjoyable balance with their structures.