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2012 Chardonnay

2012 Chardonnay

Year in, year out, the Winemaking Team looks closely at Chardonnay as it is one of their favorite varieties.  Every new year they are making steps toward their holy grail.  The 2012 is getting close.

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About This Wine:
A classic style of Chardonnay with incredible attention paid to detail in the vineyard and at picking times.  The wine was made in a traditional style allowing the minerality of the sites and the ripe Chardonnay character to shine.  The wine is rich but elegant, intense yet restrained.  It is one of our most balanced and complex attempts yet.
Wine Profile:
Vintage: 2012
Varietal Composition:
100% Chardonnay
Harvest Date: September 10-26, 2012
Sugar: 23.1 avg brix
Acid: 6.12 g/l
PH: 3.49
Aging: Jupilles French oak - 10 months
Barrel Aging:
10 months
34% New Jupilles French Oak
33% Second use Jupilles French Oak
33% Third use Jupilles forest French oak
Ageability: 2014-2019
Fermentation: barrel - indigenous yeast
Bottling Date: August 16, 2013
Residual Sugar: 0
Alcohol %: 13
Tasting Notes:

The 2012 Chardonnay is definitely showing our efforts to get our Chardonnay’s more refined and complex instead of straight power. The aromas are pretty and inviting with baked apple, mandarin, crème fraiche, and a slight smokiness. The palate while still holding a round mouth feel is one of the freshest of our Chardonnay’s to date with bright acidity making it both food friendly and ageable. We look at this Chardonnay to probably hit its prime around 2018 and gold a few more years.

Vineyard Notes:

This Chardonnay is sourced from the Hill (25%) and Road (18%) Blocks of our estate Nevaeh Vineyard and a vineyard we source from on Carter Mountain (57%) in the Monticello AVA. The Hill Block of Nevaeh vineyard is a south facing slope that creates most of Tarara’s richest 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 Road vineyard is extremely hot and creates wines with a fat mouth feel and more citrus notes. There is more Penn Silt Loam and Clay soils that keep the roots more shallow also adding to the more full fruit characters opposed to the Hills minerality. The Chardonnay that comes from Carter Mountain is a higher elevation site that gets cooler nights preserving acidity and is planted to clones that are about holding acidity and maintaining slightly lower and balanced sugars for better alcohol balance. The blend of these three vineyards is aimed at being a wine of incredible complexity and power. Harvest Conditions: The 2012 is said to be one of winemaker Jordan Harris’ favorite vintages to date. While some vineyard around the state did suffer from a little too much rain at harvest, many of the sites that Tarara works with really got away lucky. Nevaeh in particular with the small rain shadow of the Catoctins and the weather patterns that follow the Potomac really meant that Nevaeh didn’t receive any rain through the 2012 harvest season. It only benefited from the slightly lower resulting temperatures of nearby rains and the lack of humidity. In the end the 2012 season was about having some of the best balanced wines we have seen to date. The season started very early with an almost alarmingly warm and early spring causing bud-break in late March. It stayed warm so there were no significant frost issues that we were worried about. After that the summer never really heated up too much with the exception of the last two weeks of July and the first week of August. All together that put the harvest back on normal schedule which was superb since a worry had to harvest in the heat of the summer. The prolonged and generally mild season resulted in vibrant acidity, massive flavor concentration, moderate alcohol and beautifully ripe tannins. An overall very well balanced year unlike any we have seen in a long time.

Production Notes:

The Chardonnay was fermented on indigenous yeast in barrel with a max temperature around 72 degrees F. The wine completed Malo Lactic Fermentation in barrel and had the lees stirred bi-weekly for 6 months. The wine spent 10 months in barrel before being blended, filtered and bottled.

Food Pairing:

Great paired with a simple Roast Ayrshire Farm Chicken topped with a wild mushroom and thyme sauté and pan juice.


628 cases






Wine Enthusiast Rating
Wine Enthusiast has given Tarara's 2012 Cabernet Franc a rating of 88 points (review here), making it one of the top three Wine Enthusiast-rated Cabernet Francs ever from Virginia! And one of those other top three was our 2010 Cabernet Franc (90 points WE), giving us two out of three of the highest rated Cabernet Francs from Virginia.  Along with our 90 point 2010 CasaNoVA and our 90 point 2010 Tranquility Red, these accolades speak to the quality of wine we produce and the exciting future of Tarara on the horizon.  Come visit us to try the wine, or have it delivered from our store!
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