The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 43 of 96

october 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  43 W hen I tasted Boich Family Cellar wines at a recent lunch in San Francisco, I was convinced I abso- lutely had to know more. To do so firsthand, I traveled 7 miles up the Oakville Grade on the northeast tip of the Veeder AVA before arriving at a stunning estate with breathtak- ing views. Proprietor John Boich says it was this very view that inspired him to purchase the parcel 21 years ago: "After lunch and a bottle of wine at the old Tra Vigne restaurant, I ended up in a St. Helena realtor's office for kicks and curios- ity, and the rest is history," Boich explains. He admits even today it was a passion-driven impulse buy, but it changed the course of his life forever. While still holding down his finance job during the week, Boich committed Saturdays to work on the Veeder property; after eight years, the first vines were planted in 2009. The original site produces a mere 50 cases of Syrah, prompting Boich to purchase the adja- cent Wall Road Vineyard in 2012. This regional gem benefits from a saddle on the western side of the range that allows for both morning and afternoon sun, which is uncommon in the Mount Veeder AVA. No wonder the Tesseron family of Bordeaux's Château Pontet-Canet recently became Boich's neighbors! In 2010, Boich decided to begin assem- bling the pieces necessary for crafting a small quantity of single-vineyard wines. At the time he admired the highly acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignons from Schrader Cellars, so he hired the winery's former Assistant Winemaker, Jeff Ames, as his Head Winemaker while also partnering with his longtime friend—and now co-propri- etor—Jnani Matson. Boich Family Cellars today produces 2,000 cases of wine from six single-vineyard sites. Its portfolio incorporates fruit from Beckstoffer's To Kalon, Georges III, Missouri Hopper, and the Wall Road Vineyard Mount Veeder Estate, as well as a bit of Chardonnay from the esteemed Ritchie Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. "Our brand promise is to craft single-vineyard wines from the most iconic sites in the region," Boich says. While the portfolio feels complete, Boich and his team are always on the lookout for single-vineyard candidates that would make a good fit for their program. "If you combine the best fruit possible with a passionate, talented winemaker like Jeff, you can make truly exceptional wines," Boich notes. As we taste through the current releases, Boich tells me, "I don't want to make a lot of wine, but I want to make amazing wine." He's clearly on to something, as his bot- tlings display the elegance, balance, and power expected from these iconic sites. As we taste, I inquire about the driving force behind his passion for winemaking. "Wine to me always has a story to tell," Boich replies. "From the moment you see it in the glass to the finish in the back of your throat, the wine is speaking to you about a time and a place. Wine connects people, and I love the idea of contributing to that process." It's obvious Boich loves to entertain: His house exudes an air of hospitality with its huge kitchen, pizza oven, and enormous dining table. Musical instruments interspersed throughout the house prompt you to almost expect a private concert at any moment. Next time, I'll plan a longer stay so I can listen to Boich's stories and hear him play the piano. As for my contribution, I'll volunteer to make the pizza. Follow Kim Beto on Instagram @sgwinespirits and @drinkswithkimbeto. John Boich in his home kitchen in the Mount Veeder AVA.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - October 2018