The gorgeous Napa property also welcomes visitors. (photo by Bob McClenahan)

Bouchaine Vineyards is the oldest continuously family-owned property in the Carneros AVA of Napa Valley. It was originally planted in the 1880s by Missouri-born Boon Fly before Italian winemaker Johnny Garetto bought the site in 1927. He farmed the land until 1961, when Beringer snapped it up. For 20 years, it served as a storage facility—then changed hands again, this time going to Gerret and Tatiana Copeland. Their purchase gave the property new life. They expanded the vineyards to 100 acres, built a new winery and tasting room, and set the groundwork for what it is today: a Burgundian-focused outfit that produces 20-plus wines, including pinot noir and chardonnay, which were my first tastes.

On trying the 2019 Estate Pinot Noir ($40), one of the first things that came to mind was how much I’d like to try the playful and interesting wine with a simple roasted chicken—I’m thinking of a particular one my husband and I split while in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence—but alas, we were having a Greek salad and roasted garlic salmon at home that evening.

It proved a good match for those flavors as well. And, in glancing at the tasting notes, I saw it described as “perfect for food pairings.” The floral and herbal notes complemented the tangy feta and olives in my salad, and brought out the slight sweetness of the roasted garlic.

The nose featured tart cranberries and red cherries, not quite ripe—but on the cusp. There was a bit of poppy cola and vanilla to taste, with coffee grounds on the back palate. Maybe dark chocolate, too. It’s flexible and lean, with acidity to balance out the tannins. The wine was aged for 10 months, with malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels (20 percent).

It was a lovely ode to Bouchaine’s 100-acre estate vineyard, on the southern border of Carneros. The vineyard is impacted by fog, wind, and cold night-time temps—perfect for pinot.

The 2019 Estate Chardonnay ($36) also speaks of the terroir and is an approachable choice for food pairings. The bottle mixes 35-year-old vines and plantings from the chardonnay dijon clone from 1996. The older vines lend depth and complexity—not to mention the fact that more than a dozen different chardonnay wines from the estate blocks were made, then combined, to form the final iteration in my glass.

The wine aged for eight months, maturing in various stainless steel tanks and barrels—50 percent malolactic fermentation, 85 percent barrel fermented, 15 percent tank fermented, and 18 percent new French oak. It all came together to create a not overly oaky approach to chardonnay, with a nose of apple and honeysuckle. On the palate: zingy lemon, peach skin and just-toasted bread. It was delightfully fresh but rich, and lingered on the tongue. A lovely choice for a board of funky, ripe cheeses, I know it would taste just as good with that simple roasted chicken, too.