Bouchaine Vineyards

Auction Select Best Barrel
2012 Pinot Noir
Napa Valley

2013 Offering
Premiere Napa Valley
Auction 17 | Lot No. 192
Vintage: 2012

Bouchaine Vineyards

Auction Select Best Barrel

Pinot Noir
Napa Valley

5 cases produced


Winemaker Michael Richmond’s goal for this Premiere lot was to create the most plush and rich of all of the Pinot Noirs we make. To achieve this, he chose from wines made from several of the best estate blocks, which age in an array of different French oak barrels. The resulting wine offers a full, velvety mouthfeel and a great balance of fruit and earthy notes – a complex wine with “the ethereal perfume that is Pinot.” The successful bidder may take this lot as is, or work with Michael to craft a fusion from several of the favorite barrels tucked away in our cellar, thereby adding their personal stamp to the finished wine.

Aging Process

French oak barrels

Wine Facts

  • Sustainably produced

Michael Richmond

Winemaker, Bouchaine Vineyards

Winemaker, Michael Richmond

A native Texan, Michael Richmond graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1968 with a degree in special education. He arrived in Napa Valley in 1970, following an eighteen-month cross country bicycle tour. Michael immediately began a career in wine at Freemark Abbey, where he worked in virtually all aspects of operations and attended short courses in winemaking at UC Davis.
In 1979, with moral support from Freemark Abbey, Michael seized the opportunity to co-found Acacia Winery in the Carneros district of Napa Valley. “Though Carneros would not become an official appellation until 1981, a few wineries were gambling on the region's potential – including Acacia's new neighbor, Bouchaine Vineyards, which was also 're-founded' in 1981 by its new proprietors, Gerret and Tatiana Copeland,” said Michael. Acacia was one of the first California wineries to actually feature vineyard-designated wines. He adds, “We had all cast our lot with Pinot Noir, which at the time was a much-maligned wine variety in California. We dared to take on the doubting wine press.” When Acacia was acquired by the Chalone Group in 1986, Michael spent several years as Chalone's vice president of sales. In 1993, he returned to winery life when Chalone assigned him to manage their struggling Carmenet Winery. “As part of ‘fixing' Carmenet, I created Dynamite Cabernet – evoking the historical significance of the volcanic vineyard sites blasted out of the rocky terraces, and infusing an element of levity to the brand.” Five years later, Michael returned to manage Acacia for a second stint. Then, at the Steamboat Conference in the summer of 2002, he heard that the owners of Bouchaine were looking for a general manager. “At that moment, I recall, a sense of destiny swept over me.” Not only did Michael get the job, but he also got the hills! “I remember standing out in the parking lot at Acacia, looking across at two steeply terraced hillsides, envious of the viticultural possibilities they implied amid the extensive rolling plains. It was only after I had joined Bouchaine that I discovered they had recently become part of the Bouchaine Estate.”

Country born: USA

Education: University of Texas at Austin, Bachelor's in special education
University of California, Davis - winemaking courses

Years in the wine industry: 30+ years

Honors / Awards:
Founder of the Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference; Vice President of Carneros Wine Alliance; Napa Valley Vintners - Chairman of Outreach Committee; Napa Valley Chamber of Commerce executive board of directors

Winemaking Philosophy:
Pinot Noir is a reflection of vineyard site, clonal selection, vintage weather, and harvest date. We endeavor to optimize extraction by essentially treating all Pinot grapes the same once they come to the winery. Diversity and complexity in the final bottling blend comes from the melding of innate differences of each vineyard block along with the considered oak regimen. Contrast this to Chardonnay fruit, which by Pinot standards is fairly constant across vintages and vineyards for any given area. Chardonnay is crafted in the winery and reflects the winemakers design. Diversity and complexity in chardonnay arises from the varied processes that various lots receive prior to their being blended into the final wine. Over the years I have observed that, from the same area, the earliest fruit makes the most well behaved and richly flavored wines. This is ironic in light of the current fashion of extending “hang-time.” Harvest criteria are perhaps where a winemaker can have the most profound effect on the wine. There is no absolute standard of “physiological ripeness”. I am guided intuitively to harvest across a range of ripeness, minimizing the greenness on the one end and the raisining on the other. The longer I am in this business the more I come to think that making Pinot is a dynamic discipline more reflective of belief and happenstance than science and design

The Wine House

2311 Cotner Avenue
Los Angeles  CA  90064


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