Baxter Winery

Owner(s) Phil Baxter, Phil Baxter, Jr.
Web site www.baxterwinery.com
 
Link to this site

Phil Baxter is native to California, growing up in the central valley where he studied winemaking at Fresno State. He moved to the Napa Valley just before 1969 when he started his career under the tutelage of Bill Bonetti at the Charles Krug Winery. Phil oversaw the development of the Souverain Napa operation and was the head winemaker at Rutherford Hill Winery for the first ten years. He then moved to the Dry Creek Valley as the winemaker at Domaine-Michel. In 1989 Phil started his own business with the Philippe-Lorraine label in honor of his maternal grandparents, Philippe and Lorraine Segrais. Direct descendants of France, but more recently from the isle of Mauritius, they were the source of much of his love of wine and the old world. Now, together with his youngest son, he focuses most of his energy on Philippe-Lorraine and Baxter their new single vineyard label.

Phil Jr. grew up in St. Helena running around the vineyards of Rutherford Hill and Domaine Michel. After high school he enrolled at UCDavis where he spent five years studying viticulture and enology, one of which was in France. After finishing school in 2002, Phil once again ventured to France, this time to work the harvest. He worked at two domains owned by Boisset. Domaine de la Vougeraie in Premeaux, produces wine from 33 different vineyards from Musigny and Bonne Mares to premier cru and village wines. During the thick of harvest Phil also helped the crew at Domaine Raymond Launay in Pommard. They made many Pommard wines as well as several grand crus from elsewhere on the Cote. Upon his return Phil decided to work for his father and the family business. Perhaps due to Phil Jr's Burgundian influence, in 2003 father and son started the Baxter label focusing on premium vineyards and old world techniques, including little or no new oak elevage for Pinot Noir. The Baxters have now consolidated all winemaking at their family farm in Elk, CA. The estate lies in the Mendocino Ridge appellation on top of Greenwood Ridge between Philo and Elk. This father and son team work together as the only employees to create both Philippe-Lorraine as well as the smaller lots of Baxter wines and now Pipo.

Pinot Noir has been sourced from Toulouse Vineyard in the Anderson Valley and Oppenlander Vineyard in Comptche, just north of the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, but vineyard sources have varied over the years. The wines are sold online through the winery's website.

Reviewed Wines

2009 Baxter Black Label Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.71, 500 cases, $35. Sourced from several vineyards throughout the Anderson Valley, a true cross-section of the AVA. 40% Martini, 40% Pommard, 15% “DRC,” and 5% 667 clones. Native yeast fermentations, 6-day cold soak, punched down by hand for 18 days, then pressed using a gentle basket press. Aged 20 months in 100% neutral French oak barrels before blending and bottling. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Brightly perfumed with scents of fresh dark red berries, gentle spice, bramble and flowers. Light in the mouth with flavors of juicy dark strawberries, raspberries and plum and a subtle riff of leafy herbs in the backgrounm showing well-mannered fruit tannins with lively acidity and some length on the refreshing finish. Pinot Noir unplugged (sans oak) offers a different tasting experience. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Baxter Langley Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $45. This 4-acre vineyard was originally planted in 1982 for sparkling wine but is now used for still wine exclusively. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red cherries and berries, underbrush and paraffin. Pleasingly intense core of cherries wrapped in fine grain tannins and displaying unusually hi-strung acidity, finishing with a flourish of cherry flavor. Elegant and light on its feet. Good. Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Baxter Langley Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.64, 150 cases, $45, released November 1, 2011. Planted exclusively to Martini clone in 1982. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 18 months in neutral French oak. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of forest, moss, cranberry and red cherry. Soft and crisp in the mouth with spiced red cherry and raspberry flavors backed by supple tannins, finishing with some length. Very good. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Baxter Run Dog Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.53, 110 cases, $45. Available for futures purchase now, formal release November 2011. A 1-acre vineyard in Boonville planted in 1999 and managed by the Baxters. Nestled against the cool western hills allowing the vineyard to receive the morning sun, but avoid the harsh afternoon heat. Yields 1.9 tons per acre. Pommard 5 clone. Native fermentation, elevage in neutral French oak barrels, unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Red fruits are featured on the nose and palate. Lovely soft texture and bright acidity on the finish. Plenty of charm now, but will benefit from another year or two in bottle. Very good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Baxter Run Dog Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $45. This 1-acre vineyard is located at the southwestern end of the Anderson Valley and is planted to Pommard clone. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Pleasing aromas of red pie cherries with hints of balsam, nuts and eucalyptus. A juicy wine with tasty dark red cherry and berry flavors complimented by a savory herbal note and subtle spice. The tannins are well-mannered and the wine offers welcoming finesse. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle although showing a little heat on the nose. Very good. Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Baxter Oppenlander Vineyard Mendocino Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $60. · Relatively light reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is slow to open, revealing an aromatic mix of fresh berries and black cherries which gain appeal and intensity over time in the glass. Medium weight flavors of darker stone fruits and berries with an underlying savory bent, very slight oak in the background, finishing with an hi-tone, slightly tart cherry finish. More austere than other wines I have had from this vineyard, but very appealing for its fruit ripeness, juiciness and ability to pick up intensity and appeal over time in the glass. Very good (+). Reviewed February 22, 2012 ARTICLE »

2007 Baxter Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 75 cases. · Medium deep red color in the glass. Aromas of red cherries, spice and vanilla. Modest weight flavors of red cherries and berries and pomegranate with a hint of earthiness and baking spice. Bright acidity adds juiciness and the supple tannins add softness. A little alcohol shows up on the finish. Drink or hold. Score: 87. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2007 Baxter Winery River Run Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 75 cases, $45. This vineyard is just under one acre and sits on the northwestern edge of Boonville. Pommard 5 clone. Yield 1.5 tons per acre. 5 day cold soak, whole berry fermentation, native yeast, 18 days on the skins, unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately deep reddish-violet color. A woodsy and nutty nose featuring cherry fruit. An earthy wine with some notable minerality enhancing the raspberry and cherry fruit flavors augmented by a subtle note of citrus with a little heat on the finish. Generous acidity, mild tannins and admirable finesse. Reviewed May 26, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Baxter Winery Toulouse Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.67, 250 cases, $45. Released in the fall of 2009. This vineyard is located near Philo and was planted in 1998. Clones 115, 667 and 2A. Aged in neutral oak. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely outfitted nose featuring scents or red fruits including strawberries and cherries, rose petals and a hint of spice. Tasty core of delicately spiced redder fruits with a touch of underlying wet leaves and underbrush. Light in weight with bright acidity that lifts the vibrancy of the fruit. Very good. Reviewed June 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2005 Baxter Winery Toulouse Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 150 cases, $45. This vineyard has a southwestern exposure on slopes near Philo. Below the coastal fog in the morning, the vineyard has plenty of warmth midday. Whole berry fermentation, small open top tanks, hand punch downs. · Pleasing aromas of black cherries, raspberries, marzipan and oak smoke with a hint of alcohol peaking out as the wine warms in the glass. A mid-weight wine with a soft and tasty core of dark cherries and raspberries that are nicely spiced with a hint of citrus in the background. Very smoothly textured with soft and supple tannins. Reviewed May 26, 2009 ARTICLE »

2004 Baxter Oppenlander Vineyard Mendocino Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $40. · The nose features super ripe dark cherries and herbs. The straight-forward dark cherry flavors are kissed by citrus. The finish sports fine tannins, lively acidity, a touch of astringency, and a little warmth. Reviewed June 3, 2007 ARTICLE »