I know one day soon, I will be fighting for a space to park and a spot at the table with these generous, friendly, down-to-earth Sonoma County farmers, Diane and John Bucher. Not only are their grapes/wines fabulous, but the rolling hills estate of Bucher Vineyards is truly breathtaking; a classic blend of rustic earthiness and romance that matches their 2012 pinot noirs, the second release for this winery that won’t be a secret to anyone for long.
John and Diane Bucher oversee their family’s vineyard on Westside Road near Arista Winery in Healdsburg. John, a Healdsburg native, graduated from UC Davis and returned home to manage his family’s dairy farm. The dairy operation began with John’s parents in 1958 and grew to encompass 360 acres of prime land. In 1997, John diversified the family operation to include wine grapes; a true combination of modern-day Sonoma County agriculture and a throwback to our region’s traditional roots. The family’s dairy operation still thrives (supplying organic milk to local favorite Clover Stornetta) but the vineyard business has grown to now include over 40 acres of highly sought after Pinot Noir spread across 14 distinct vineyard blocks. Pommard and Dijon Pinot Noir clones were established initially with the assistance of winemaker Bob Cabral, but have since been expanded to heritage clones including Swan, Mt. Eden and Jackson and one of the original 15 pinot noir blocks (Corner Block) has been grafted over to Chardonnay.
The blocks in Bucher Vineyard range from a little over one acre to just under six acres with most of them on the smaller side. John has worked to keep the grape size small creating a higher skin-to-juice ratio which is coveted for high quality pinot noir. “Good quality will always sell, was my parents’ philosophy,” John said.
Fruit from Bucher Vineyard has historically gone to several wineries including Williams Selyem, Arista, Siduri, Holdredge, Papapietro Perry, C. Donatiello Winery and Frank Family Vineyards where it has received many acclaims and is often a single vineyard designate. In 2011 John and Diane Bucher utilized their high quality grapes to launch the Bucher Vineyard label with the aid of Siduri winemaker Adam Lee. An estate 2011 Pinot Noir and 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay (utilizing grapes from the neighboring Lazy W Ranch on Westside Road) were the inaugural releases.
2012 Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Russian River pinot noirs have a signature cola-spice aroma with an underlying earthiness and this lightly oaked wine was no exception. It had a red-berry palate tasting of cherries and raspberries with firm tannins for a rich finish. (Recommend drink now, but cellar some for later)
2012 Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Three Sixty Pinot Noir – The heritage clone and hillside soils have added an enormous amount of depth and complexity to this textbook vintage. The plum and sassafras notes translate into rich cherry-plum-raspberry pie on the palate highlighted by exotic spices. The wine finishes beautifully with a hint of sweet vanilla. (Recommend drink, then drink more… oh yes, cellar some too!)
Additionally, Bucher Vineyard has released a 2013 Bucher Vineyard Chardonnay and a 2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir. The Bucher Vineyard wines are understated, silky smooth with a conservative approach to oak.
Be sure to visit this friendly family and taste their wonderful bounty. Tours and tastings require a reservation. For additional information see their website or contact Diane at 707-484-5162 or firstname.lastname@example.org. #BucherVineyard #wine #winetasting #SonomaCounty