Anderson Valley, California, USA
A uniquely elegant expression of California
Located in a dramatic ridge-top above the beautiful Anderson Valley, just 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Baxter Winery produces premium single-vineyard wines from the Anderson Valley and surrounding Mendocino appellations, in Northern California. Baxter is a father & son partnership, owned and operated by Phil L Baxter and Phil T G Baxter. Both winemakers by training and trade, they decided to join their combined 50 years of experience, to produce handcrafted wines that are as pure as they are elegant.
How we found them/How Richard found them: California is one of my favourite wine regions and I’ve been a regular visitor long before Wanderlust was born. On one occasion I got a tip to venture much further north into Mendocino county where the Pinot Noirs are grown in much colder climates. I found Baxter’s tasting room at the side of the road and they were, by far, the best producer in the region, making premium, delicious Pinot’s.
In the Anderson Valley, excellent lighter wines are produced than those of the Napa region thanks to the cooling maritime breezes and fog that climb the valley at dawn. The result is a quasi-Burgundian, cooler climate perfect for the slow ripening of elegant, well-balanced fruit. In 2002, Phil L Baxter and Phil T G Baxter – aka Phil Sr and Phil Jr – decided to combine their winemaking passion and expertise to highlighting the very best in North Coast viticulture. Inspired by traditional and artisanal Burgundian methods, they apply them in a winemaking context where subtlety is sometimes rare. Their wines, namely the Pinot Noirs, quickly stood out for their elegant and finesse.
Working only with fruit from selected sustainably managed vineyards – most of them with considerable age to them and some of them ungrafted – they build long-lasting relationships with growers so as to deeply understand each plot’s history and terroir. This provides the framework for their winemaking process, aimed at bringing out the purest expression of each plant and vintage. Father and son work alone in the cellar, monitoring the natural fermentation, punching down by hand twice daily and using a basket press to gently extract the juices. The wines are then aged in neutral French oak, refining the texture and tannins without imparting wood flavour. All Baxter wines are bottles unfined and unfiltered. Both their ethos and methods are in deep contrast with the region’s most common practices to produce wines that are undeniably North-Californian in spirit but unmistakably European in style.
Location: Anderson Valley, California, USA
Working with us since: 2016
Total area under vine: 11 hectares
Viticultural standards: Certified under (and founding members of) the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing Program
Our pick of the best wine from this producer: Old-vine Carignan
Interesting fact: One of the best-kept secrets in Mendocino County is the many vineyards of old-vine Carignan, many of which grow on their original rootstock. Baxter’s Old-vine Carignan hails from the 70-year-old dry-farmed organic vineyard. Naturally low-yields and well drained gravely soil combine to produce a wine of immense depth and balance that is truly not to be missed.