Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vineyard Walk, Wine Tasting in the Vineyard and Lunch in the Tarara Tank Cellar with Wine Maker Jordan Harris, Tarara Winery, USA

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Jordan Harris

I had been to Tarara Winery before and enjoyed a fabulous tasting with winemaker Jordan Harris in Tarara’s private tasting room. This time, it was different. Jordan took us to the Nevaeh vineyard for some wine tasting there, then on a walk through his vineyard, and to the Tarara tank cellar for lunch and more wine. The event was part of TasteCamp 2012.

For more, see:
An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA
TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

Tarara Winery

Tarara Winery is in Loudoun County, about an hour by car from Washington DC. The beautifully manicured 475 acre farm stretches along the Potomac River. Founded in 1989 by RJ (Whitie) and Margaret Hubert, Tarara is home to some of Virginia’s finest wines. Annual production is 10.000 cases.


Tarara’s main vineyards are Nevaeh (the estate vineyard managed by Ben Renshaw), Tranquility (in Purcellville, also managed by Ben Renshaw), Honah Lee (in Orange managed by Wayne and Vera Preddy), Mountainview (in Roanoke County managed by Megan and Andy Seibel), and Indian Springs (in the Winchester area managed by Steven Brown).

Nevaeh is made up of three distinct blocks – The Hill, The Road and The Pond.

The Hill has the deepest soils made up of red clay with limestone deposits cutting through the block. 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 sights and furthest from the Potomac River. Varieties planted and used for Tarara bottlings: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The Pond is the coolest site of Nevaeh. This block is the best for Tarara’s aromatic whites like Viognier, but is also home to some of Tarara’s most elegant Merlot due to the length of the growing season it can have and small amounts of Grenache and Mourvedre.

Jordan Harris

Jordan grew up in a little village in Canada, an hour north of Toronto. He went to a Culinary School and became the manager of a fine Italian restaurant. He left the restaurant and went back to school for Oenology and Viticulture at Niagara College. Before moving on to Virginia, he made wine in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada, where he worked for a few wineries.

Jordan shares the winemaker job with his Canadian compatriot Jonathan Boyle.

Wine Tasting in the Vineyard

It is not every day that you ride through vineyards in a wagon with a glass of Petit Manseng. That is how we started our vineyard walk. For our return trip, Jordan poured us the 2007 Syrah.

Pictures: Wine tasting in the Vineyard

Vineyard Walk

Jordan Harris is very passionate about the natural wine concepts. The idea behind the winemaking at Tarara Winery is to take a minimalist approach to allow the vineyards to best express themselves. Jordan believes that fine wines are made in the vineyard. Every time they have to get in the way of the wine, it is less of an expression of that vineyard.

Pictures: Vineyard Walk

Jordan Harris: “All of our wines are meant to be a definition of the grapes. The wines are not treated with enzymes, fining agents or any unnecessary additives. The wines will occasionally need slight adjustments with sugar or acid to help the wines keep their balance and to fine tune the alcohol. All of the wines are fermented on indigenous yeasts with limited temperature control. Our belief is that the natural warmer fermentations allow wines to have more structure and depth, while the cooler temperatures are less necessary to preserve the aromatics which are abundant from the vineyard.”

Salad, Pizza and More Wine in the Tank Cellar

The Tarara wines are made in a 6000 square foot cave. This is where we had lunch after the vineyard walk. And we had more Tarara wines: The 2009 Tranquility, a barrel sample of the 2010 Tranquility, 2008 Nevaeh Red, and the kicker…a 1992 Tarara Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pictures: Lunch at Tarara Winery

The lunch was salad and delicious pizza, made by a portable brick-oven pizza caterer (Pizzeria Moto).

schiller-wine: Related Posting

Northern Virginia Magazine October 2012: Wine Recs from Local Winos

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Judging Virginia Wines in Suffolk, Virginia - Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic 2012

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Book Review: "Beyond Jefferson's Vines - The Evolution of Quality Wine in Virginia" by Richard Leahy, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

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