Bouchaine Pinot Noir Bacchus 2004
Was a bit hesitant opening this '04 Carneros pinot thinking it was probably well past its prime. After an hour in the decanter the flavors were somewhat muted but not bad or oxidized and there was a bit of acidity on the back end. After a bit more time and air this opened up very nicely with dark fruit, prunes, a touch of smoke and more of that nice acidity, in a very Burgundian fashion. Pleasantly surprised and extremely pleased.Add winemaker's notes
Was a bit hesitant opening this '04 Carneros pinot thinking it was probably well past its prime. After an hour in the decanter the flavors were somewhat muted but not bad or oxidized and there was a bit of acidity on the back end. After a bit more time and air this opened up very nicely with dark fruit, prunes, a touch of smoke and more of that nice acidity, in a very Burgundian fashion. Pleasantly surprised and extremely pleased.
External Reviews for Bouchaine Pinot Noir Bacchus
Michael Richmond, one of the early pioneers in the 1970s to recognize the efficacy of Carneros fruit, has taken over the reigns at Bouchaine. Not only is he resurrecting the early reputation of Bouchaine, he’s also working hard to restore the luster of Carneros. With this Pinot Noir, Bouchaine and Carneros are back in the game. In recent years the growers and producers of the region have begun to change the clonal selections of their fruit among other regimens, and it shows here. The wine is full of character that includes a deepness of earth, tar, and minerality fronted by wild cherry and backed by substantial tannins and a goodly palate cleansing wash of acidity. The wine is drinking nicely now, but over the next 10 years it will reward those even more who have the patience and prescience to wait a bit longer.Since Carneros is one of the cooler regions of the Napa Valley, with winds and colder temperatures coming in from the nearby Napa River and San Pablo Bay, the conditions lend themselves to holding alcohol levels down. Here it’s a listed 14.1 percent, which is reasonable enough in this context. The Bouchaine vineyard is comprised of shallow clay loam to well-drained, cobble-y soil. The aforementioned clones include Dijon 115, 667, and 777, Pommard, and Swan. The wine was barrel aged for 12 months in 75 percent new French as well as Hungarian oak, the latter of which is gaining popularity in California, mainly due to its lower price. Only 868 cases were produced.
When Michael Richmond, a longtime progenitor of Los Carneros took over Bouchaine several years ago, he faced the task of putting this property back into the public’s consciousness. After falling from grace sometime back in the late 80s, Bouchaine has undergone many changes, including its winemaking team. With this 2004 Pinot, I believe that Richmond has fully resurrected this property.The wine – not unlike the unassuming but complex Richmond – is full of character with deep, earthy tar and mineral fronted by wild cherry and backed by substantial tannins and a goodly, palate-cleansing dose of acidity. It’s a true representation of what a Carneros Pinot can be and blows any notion of a wimpy, translucent cherry-flavored pop wine – a Carneros caricature – out of the water once and for all. Most important of all perhaps, is the fact that Richmond brought this wine in at under 14 percent alcohol (the listed percentage is 13.5 percent), which is where a cool-climate Pinot from the Carneros should be. It’s a blend of Dijon, Pommard, and Swan clones from Bouchaine’s estate vineyard that overlooks San Pablo Bay and from the dry-farmed Gee Vineyard next door. The wine was barrel aged in 30 percent new French and Hungarian oak. There were 6,500 cases produced. And I like the price.
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