Published March 22, 2013

The newest kid on the block in Philo is Baxter yet they were serving some of the oldest wines. They finish their tasting flight with a full Carignan from a 2006 vintage, a grape most would have used for blending because of its rough tannic nature. Yet, Baxter definitely tamed the chewy chalky beast that can overwhelm Carignan. Theirs has a deep dark blueberry and plum purity with light layers of savory licorice. This is from a dry farm, which means the only water they get is from the sky. Dry farmed fruits are stronger having the fight in them to survive, producing more pronounced flavors and character.

Other Baxter wines show similar strength and character. Their Chardonnay has neutral oak so the rich fruit shines through. Their Pinot Noir’s charm might come from its distinctive history. Baxter heard Roederer was grubbing up some old Pinot Noir vines. Not sure why but they often do this when older vines stop producing as many grapes as they’d like. Even though older vines have more complexity, they produce fewer grapes so winemakers have to weigh the cost/benefits of quality and quantity. Luckily, Baxter saved these old vines, replanting them just north of Boonville with surprising success, losing fewer vines in the transition than expected. These must be survivor vines and they sure taste like it. Their Pinot Noir is strong and vibrant with tremendous finish, leaving you wanting another sip long after you’ve left the tasting room.


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