The Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir 2011 is a Trader Joe’s $9.99 exclusive, just the 2011 vintage, the other vintages are available elsewhere at the regular price (list price is $35). The 2011 Bouchaine Pinot Noir comes from their Estate vineyard (and 3 other Carneros growers) on the Napa side of the Carneros AVA (Carneros is partly in Sonoma and partly inside Napa). There has been a winery on this land since 1927 and the property began a revitalization program in 1981 with a change of ownership and a name change to Bouchaine Vineyards. This Pinot Noir was aged in French and American oak barrels, about 1/3 new oak. Now, I do not know why Bouchaine Vineyards sold the 2011 years production to Trader Joe’s. They have recently changed wine makers and brought in new advisers, so maybe a new direction may be a part of it. But, a quality problem with the 2011 vintage does not seem to come into play. The 2011 vintage in Carneros was very good and the only 2011 Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir still shown on Bouchaine’s website, is the 2011 Magnum (equal to 2 bottles) and it lists for $100. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
The color is clear, shiny garnet red. The nose is wonderful, equal parts ripe cherry, herbs, cigar tobacco, roses and savory mushroom. This is a bright, well-balanced Pinot. It starts with ripe black cherry with a mix of herbs and savory elements. The mid-palate shows tart cherry, with a bit of black pepper. The acidity brings elegance and length. The finish is full and stays with you.
I don’t know how bottles Trader Joe’s has left, it initially sold for $14.99, so the 5 buck price drop usually means the Bouchaine Carneros Pinot Noir 2011 is close to selling out. I really don’t have to give anyone a reason to purchase a $35 Pinot Noir for $9.99. This is a solid Pinot Noir when selling for $35, it is silly good for ten bucks.