At Tarara Winery we pride ourselves on sourcing from some of the best vineyards in Virginia to craft wines of exceptional character defining each site. Our main vineyards are Nevaeh (our estate vineyard managed by Ben Renshaw) and Tranquility (in Purcellville, also managed by Ben Renshaw).
Nevaeh is made up of three distinct blocks – The Hill, The Road and The Pond. All of Nevaeh is planted to cane-pruned vertical shoot positioning with an average yield of just shy of two tons per acre. This helps with even ripening, better concentration and an easily sculpted vineyard.
The Hill has the deepest soils made up of red clay with limestone deposits cutting through the block. It is a south facing slope which leads to our ripest fruit and is close to the Potomac Valley giving great air movement. The wines tend to be ripe and elegant with exceptional complexity and at times lovely minerality. The varieties planted on the Hill and used for Tarara bottlings include: Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Viognier and Petit Manseng.
The Road is the flattest of the sites and furthest from the Potomac River. It gets extremely hot through the summer and is dominated by Penn Silt Loam. In the best years the fruit is ripe and extremely viscous. In cooler, wetter years it tends to be leaner and show herbal characters. This is our blending block using bits to help round out complexity in our Nevaeh Bottling. Syrah acts as a great stand alone from the Road block. Varieties planted and used for Tarara bottlings: Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. We are also now planting several acres of Viognier and Petit Manseng.
The Pond is the coolest site of Nevaeh. It receives a lot of shade in the morning and in the later afternoon creating a longer “cool period” from the evenings. This helps to maintain freshness in acidity and prolong the ripening period without extreme alcohol levels. The soil is the most sandy of the Tarara soils with great drainage and more limestone deposits as it is the closest to the Potomac River Valley. This block is the best for our aromatic whites like Viognier, but is also home to some of our most elegant Merlot due to the length of the growing season it can have and small amounts of Mourvedre.
Tranquility Vineyard is a seven acre vineyard planted in 1999 by it's owners: Al and Mary Taylor. Set in the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont, the vineyard sits at about 570 above sea level. The original planting included four acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by one acre of Tannat in 2005. The final planting was about 1¾ 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 five 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. Starting with the 2011 season, the Tranquility Vineyard is being leased entirely by Tarara Winery. Tarara only bottles wine using the Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat. The Pinot Gris is sold to other wineries.