The Delaware Connection

/ Updated on June 16, 2017

Tatiana and Gerret Copeland live in Wilmington, but they own 104 rolling acres of Bouchaine Vineyards in the southernmost part of Napa Valley’s famed Carneros region. The vineyards include two terraced outcroppings named the Garetto Hills, after Johnny Garetto, who founded the original winery in the late 1920s. Bouchaine is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Carneros District- a winery that began making wine long before the region earned its reputation for producing the great Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of Carneros. Tatiana and Gerret purchased the winery and surrounding land in 1981 from Beringer. They began rejuvenating the 30 acres, consisting of two dilapidated buildings, replanted the vineyards and re-milled the historic redwood wine tanks. Renovations continued for the next two decades. By 1996, the winery overhaul was complete. They bought an additional 60+ contiguous acres and followed their vision and passion to what Bouchaine is today.

At Teller Wines, we have always loved the Bouchaine portfolio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Meunier, and Syrah. And our customers heartily concur. We also love the Copelands’ practice of sustainable viticulture, using cover crop, integrated pest management and “deficit” irrigation to minimize water use and to restrict vine growth in order to produce low-yielding, intensely flavored fruit. Of Bouchaine’s 87 planted acres, 42 are devoted to Chardonnay, 40 to Pinot Noir, and the remaining 5 to Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris.

It is well known that the Pinot Noir grape is one of the most temperamental. Winemaker Michael Richmond describes the dramatic difference between making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. “Making Chardonnay is like raising kids in the 50s, with a lot of parental control and the expectation that the next generation will conform to that training. Making Pinot is the more modern way of raising children, where the parents just set the boundaries and try to keep them out of jail. With Chardonnay, we hope to be delighted by and proud of the result of our supervision; with Pinot, we hope to be delighted and relieved by the outcome.”

We have one bottle of the 2007 Estate Pinot Noir. Ripe and complex, precocious and flirtatious, it is the diva of all Pinot Noirs. It comes in a handsome carved wood case. At $119.99, you will score big with your diva!

The 2011 Pinot Meunier is a youthful wine with only modest fruit aromatics, perhaps even a bit olivaceous, it quickly begins to develop a faintly conifer forest aroma that further evolves to cinnamon and allspice, a signature flavor of Carneros Pinot Noir. At another level it shows the brightness of pomegranate or cranberry with overtones of Satsuma plum followed by a faintly smoky oak component. We love it with my smoked tuna.

The 2012 Riesling is redolent of white flower blossoms and a grapefruit-like style prized by true Riesling aficionados. Medium dry, we enjoy it with my spicy gazpacho, both in the winter and summer.

And Tatiana and Gerret will autograph every bottle you purchase. How’s that for homegrown service — right here in Lewes!

2010 Chardonnay (Luscious & Complex)

2011 Pinot Noir (Smooth & Structured)

2011 Pinot Meunier ( Smooth & Structured)

2012 Riesling (Fresh & Clean)

2010 Syrah (Big & Concentrated)

Catherine Hester

About the Author

co-owner of Teller Wines in Lewes, DE with her husband Kevin, is a world traveler and shares their adventures at various wineries while offering thoughts on why she and Kevin order particular wines for their customers. Learn more about the Hesters by clicking here. View all articles written by Catherine Hester

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