2011 Unrefined White
(42% Chardonnay /28% Viognier/Petit Manseng 19%/Pinot Gris 11%)
$15.00 per bottle
Laid back, but with a mean streak. The first release of this fun wine is crisp as our harvest mornings but is more suitable when we are itching for something a little edgy in the hot summer days. Ozzy’s got a boneyard, so why can’t we rock out with this awesome bottle of juice?
This stuff just screams awesome simplicity. No need to get too fancy. Truss that chicken, get it nice and dry, season liberally with salt and pepper, toss it in the oven at 450F until cooked (changes with size), cut it up and serve with a simply Arugula Salad. Straight Up Delicious!
The making of the Inaugural Boneyard White was all about taking rules out of the equation and crafting a wine that is downright delicious and not decided by varietal correctness or even terroir. We just wanted a tasty and eclectic white blend that shows our imagination and fun while representing the vintage. In 2011 it was about showcasing its delicacy and verve. For the most part (90%) the juice was fermented in stainless steel at temperatures in the high 50’s to retain aromatics and bright acidity. There was 10% fermented in neutral French oak just to add a little depth and mid-palate weight. After 3 months the barrel and stainless portion was blended. There was malo-lactic fermentation done on the Chardonnay to add a little depth and creaminess to the wine. The wine was cold and heat stabilized before being filtered and bottled in March 2012.
The Chardonnay in this blend comes from Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, Reveille Vineyard Mountainview Vineyard and small portions of Nevaeh Vineyard. The Viognier came from Honah Lee Vineyard, the Petit Manseng came from Honah Lee Vineyard, Williams Gap Vineyard and Windhorn Vineyard and the Pinot Gris comes from a Nevaeh Vineyard’s Pond Block.
The Chardonnay from Sleepy Hollow is a very hot site at low elevation on sandy soils in the Hampton Roads area. This is the first year of using this fruit and we were astounded by the amount of character was in the fruit even after only 5 days past hurricane Irene. The great drainage of the sandy soils allowed for great intensity, but the earlier ripening hot site showed more caramel, poached pear and floral notes.
The Chardonnay selections from our estate vineyard Nevaeh are from the Road and Hill Blocks. The Hill is characterized by its deeper soils and limestone deposits as well as its south facing slope. It gets our ripest Chardonnay with gobs of fruit, but a nice backbone of acidity and a streak of loamy character. The Road vineyard is extremely hot and creates wines with a fat mouth feel and more citrus notes. The Pinot Gris comes from the Pond Block which is the coolest site in the Nevaeh Vineyard which is great for preserving aromatics and acidity in certain varietals like Viognier. It too has many limestone deposits closest to the river valley. The wines tend to be fresher, more aromatics with citrus and floral notes.
The Chardonnay from Reveille Vineyard is another fairly high elevation (950 feet) vineyard in the Shenandoah appellation with a west facing slope that give a lot of sunlight and heat, but with cooling nights. This promotes more intense and ripe Chardonnay styles with good weight and fruit development showing pineapple and Honey Crisp apple character.
The Viognier and some of the Petit Manseng comes from Honah Lee Vineyard in Orange, VA. 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.
The rest of the Petit Manseng came from Williams Gap Vineyard and Windhorn Vineyard. Williams Gap vineyard has a steep south facing exposure giving an abundance of sunlight. The soils are mostly defined as Penn Silt Loam (hard red clay) which generates more fruit forward, easy drinking wines. It is a somewhat cooler site generally, regardless of the abundant sunlight, because of its relatively good elevation of about 950 feet. There is also a generally good breeze that covers that vineyard leaving fewer worries for moisture sticking with the fruit and canopy and therefore helping to maintain a clean vineyard. Windhorn vineyard is a tiny rolling vineyard with east and west facing slopes (more east for the Merlot) and is on deep Penn Silt Loam soils promoting lush fruit forward wines with vibrant acidity.
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.