2011 Boneyard White
A pale straw colored wine that is clean and fruit forward enough to make an everyday wine, but complex enough to please the most distinguished wine enthusiast. The aromatics are delicate and somewhat closed right now but show all sorts of citrus, grassy notes, grapefruit, crisp apple and even some floral notes. The palate is crunchy and fresh with vibrant acidity keeping the palate dancing with herbal and citrus tones on a light body leading to a long finish. This wine is full of verve.
This wine would be great with many fresh greens and light appetizers or simply sitting on a patio in the heat of summer as an aperitif. It would also be magical with Roasted Ayrshire Farms Chicken Breast with white wine and basil served with quinoa pilaf and ripe avocado.
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 was about showcasing it’s 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 get’s 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 come 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 vintage simply put was heartbreaking at the time, but has turned out to be so much more then originally thought. There is no question that what everyone will remember was the harvest rains and lack of sunshine through the month of September. What very few people remember is the brilliant growing season that we had leading up to harvest time. Bud break was about a week earlier then average and the Spring brought just enough rain to keep the vines healthy through the warm and very dry summer months of June, July and August. There was great fruit set which was tempting to allow for a heavy crop e