Baxter Winery has been producing some of California's most aromatic and ethereal Pinot Noirs for almost 15 years, yet somehow they still remain fairly under the radar. Phillip Baxter Jr. works with some of Mendocinos’s, and in particular Anderson Valley's, best cool climate sites. The resulting wines are among the most deftly balanced and elegant this region, or really any California region is producing today. It’s actually quite baffling to me that they have not received the same level of media attention as some of their very talented contemporaries such as Arnot-Roberts or Steve Matthiasson. Like those wines they are a repudiation of the big and boldly rich wines that California became famous/infamous for, without sacrificing concentration and complexity. They are light and delicate yet intricately structured and layered. As we all know great wine starts in the vineyard, but it's Phil’s time working in Burgundy that allows him to harness the full potential of these sites. He headed there after graduating from UC Davis and contributed to the production of wines from 33 different vineyards from village to Grand Cru. It certainly didn't hurt that he came with some generational knowledge already intact as his father was an accomplished winemaker himself. A tiny operation, Phil does almost everything himself in the cellar. A five day cold soak, slow wild yeast fermentation, punchdowns done by hand, he uses a gentle basket press and an extra long aging regime with minimal intervention. All of the wines are aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels to ensure the vineyard and fruit is the focus, not the oak. The grapes are always hand-harvested and often fermented partial whole-cluster.
Earthy , Elegant , Fruity