Baxter Winery, Anderson Valley, California, USA
Located in a wilderness ridge-top location above the beautiful Anderson Valley, just 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Baxter Winery produces premium single-vineyard wines from the coastal regions of Mendocino County in Northern California. Baxter is owned by Claire and Philip Baxter, an Anglo-American couple who have settled and pitched their married home in the stunning Anderson Valley, two hours north of Napa.
The Anderson Valley can produce excellent lighter wines than we know from the likes of Napa as it benefits from a cooling maritime fog that slinks through the valley at night and settles over the vines. The result is the perfect cooler climate for growing elegant, well balanced Pinot Noir.
Growing up in the heart of wine country, after acquiring a winemaking degree, winemaker Phillip Baxter spent six months working at a small winery in Burgundy. He was inspired by the traditional methods he learnt (which are rare in the US) and vowed to use the same methods upon his return to Northern California. He employs true artisan techniques: punching down during fermentation is done by hand, morning and night. He lets the wild yeasts ferment his wines (rather than adding commercial packet yeast). Baxter believe that several different yeast wild strains in their wines lead to extremely multi-layered and complex flavors in the finished product. Philip refuses to add anything unnecessary to the process, or mess about with the wines – even the oak is very subtle, using 100% neutral French oak barrels so as not to mask the delicate flavors of the wine. This is slow wine . . . Phillip lets his wines age for 6 to 12 months longer than most wineries to allow the structure of the wines to develop at their own pace – respect and intuition of letting the terroir speak for itself.
We are not alone in thinking Baxter wines are something special. Wine Enthusiast magazine has called them ‘some of the most adventurous and nuanced Pinots in California’.