Bouchaine winery: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros

My most precious takeaway from the tasting at Bouchaine was learning that one of the owners is Sergei Rachmaninoff’s great niece.

Bouchaine winery and vineyards are in the Carneros AVA, one of Napa’s coolest sub-regions. The focus is therefore on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and Bouchaine makes several estate and single-vineyard wines from both varieties. They also source Cabernet Sauvignon from Coombsville and Syrah from Sonoma County.

The owners, Gerret and Tatiana Copeland, started the wine-making project in partnership with a few other investors in 1981. They purchased 30 acres of vineyards and an old winery in Carneros AVA in the south of Napa Valley. Over time, they added 60 more acres, renovated the facilities, and became sole owners.

Gerret Copeland is a Du Pont family descendant (his father was the company’s 11th president) and his wife Tatiana is Rachmaninoff’s great niece and the UC Berkeley MBA graduate. The owners live on the East Coast, visit Napa a few times a year, and are known in the Valley for their philanthropic work.

The winery, which currently produces about 22,000 cases of wine a year, is considered a mid-sized producer in Napa Valley.

Bouchaine wines, Napa Valley

I wish my Bouchaine experience was as charismatic as Rachmaninoff’s music. Unfortunately, I had a fairly uninformed host (perhaps she was in training?). I wish I could take a self-guided vineyard walk, but it had rained hard the days before and the vineyard was very wet. Perhaps  tasting wines on the outside terrace on a sunny day and taking a walk through the vineyards would bring about a more exciting experience.

Of the tasting flight, the tart, food-friendly 2014 Rose of Syrah (alc. 13%) with aromas of roses and strawberries was my favorite.

Of the two Chardonnays my pick was 2013 Chen D’Argent (alc. 13.8%) fermented and aged in stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation. It had aromas of green apples and apple kernels, lemon, peach, and fresh, lean palate.  

Of the two Pinots, I preferred the 2012 Terraces Pinot Noir (alc. 13.8%), which was lush and concentrated, with aromas of dried black cherries, red fruit jam and cinnamon sticks.

Address: 1075 Buchli Station Road, Napa. The tasting room is open daily from 10:30 am. No reservations are required for groups smaller than 6 people.