Boisset Family Estates plan to recreate wines from the 19th century at California's prestigious Buena Vista winery.
Buena Vista: ‘communicating the history of California’
The Burgundy-based producer is working on a ‘major restoration’ at Buena Vista, the historic Sonoma winery which it bought from Ascentia Wine Estates in May 2011.
Company vice-president Jean-Charles Boisset told Decanter.com he fell in love with Buena Vista, which is in the Carneros AVA, after visiting with his grandparents aged 11.
‘I had been trying to buy it since 1997,’ said the 43-year-old Burgundy native, who is married to Gina Gallo.
Despite an award-winning run in the late 1800s, thanks to groundwork laid by Hungarian-born founder and California pioneer Count Agoston Haraszthy, the 155-year-old stone walls of Buena Vista endured a mixed 20th Century and have not witnessed winemaking for around two decades.
Boisset now wants to bring the winery’s rich past alive using its ‘amazing assortment of rootstock, some dating back to 1862-63’.
He plans to recreate past versions of Pinot Gris, French Colombard, Pinot Meunier and potentially Angelica, a sweet fortified wine traditionally from California.
‘I think we can get fairly close to the original style,’ Boisset said. ‘It allows us to communicate the history of California. The  Judgement of Paris was great, but the first Californian wine to win a gold medal in Europe was in the 1870s.’
While historical wines will be mainly for sampling, Boisset has commercial plans to produce premium wines from varieties including Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Buena Vista
Boisset’s California producers already include DeLoach Vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Raymond Vineyards in the Napa Valley, Buena Vista, and Lyeth Estate in Alexander Valley.
Written by Chris Mercer