Baldacci Family Vineyards is located in a beautiful section of the Napa Valley just off of the Silverado Trail (west side) just north of the Yountville Cross Road. The property was purchased by Tom & Brenda Baldacci in 1997 and was then replanted; they sold grapes for two years before making their own wine. Their first release was in 2003. Tom has a background in real estate development and planned on fixing up the property to sell – even putting in a cave. However, you are in the Stag’s Leap District, one of Napa’s most highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon producing sub appellations and fortunately Tom had the foresight to build the winery rather than selling the property. In addition his family heritage probably had something to do with this, being the grandson of Italian immigrants, who made their own wine.
The second generation has become involved in the family business – son Michael works on their wine making team.
The property was also coveted because there was already an existing separate turn lane on Silverado Trail. Since their original purchase they have acquired additional vineyard land in the Napa Valley including property in the Carneros region (near Etude Winery) where they grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Gewurztraminer, Calistoga (near Diamond Mountain Road on the valley floor) where they grow Cabernet Sauvigon and a smaller block immediately south of their winery location.
The tasting is relaxed and is held in a small house or weather permitting, is conducted outside on their patio. A glorious warm spring day with vineyards full of golden mustard is a perfect time to visit this winery. Ask for a tour if they have enough staff in the tasting room – this is one of the highlights of visiting Baldacci. Your host will accompany you into the cave.
Several thousand square feet of tunnel drilled caves were built into the hillside (next to the winery). Parts of the caves were drilled through almost solid rock and as a result the cave construction took significantly longer than originally anticipated. A visit here is a very personalized experience especially during the tour – and the staff is quite knowledgeable as evidenced during our first visit when we peppered the wine guide with a plethora of questions above and beyond what most tourists will ask (barrel aging, toasts, coopers, French/American Oak…you name it)!
It is always neat to see how a “vintage” shapes a wine and can create such a completely different wine from year to year. Such is the case with their 2006 and 2005 Elizabeth Pinot Noirs from the Carneros region. The 2006 is lighter in color and body. It is a pleasing wine easily consumed with pleasing floral and lavender aromas on the bouquet with just a hint of earthiness. The fruit is truly the backbone of this wine, strawberries and raspberry with mild tannins and a light finish. The 2005 on the other hand is much darker and the backbone of this wine are the spices both in aroma and on the palate. In addition, this is a very earthy wine with notes of black pepper and other spices among the strawberry and raspberry flavors.
The Stag’s Leap District is one of Napa’s most well-known regions for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and Baldacci’s estate Cabernet does not disappoint. We tried the 2005 IV Sons, named after the Tom’s four boys. This is a wine that will age very well – if you can’t wait 5-7 years and you drink it early consider pairing this with food – especially something tomato based which will cut through the tannins and help smooth out the wine.
We also tried the 2005 Allwin Syrah, named after Tom’s grandmother. The grapes for this wine come from the Coombsville area just east of the town of Napa which is a cooler growing region than on site. This is a very aromatic wine with vanilla, cherry and a hint of mocha on the nose leading to a full body with notes of blackberry and pomegranate. During a later visit, we tried the 2014 vintage. This wine still continues to over deliver for the price point.
If you prefer white wines, definitely try their Gewurztraminer. The 2016 vintage we tried was rich in aromatics and flavor yet nicely balanced on the palate. Additional wines are made in extremely small quantities and are typically available only at the winery two selection available through the wine club called “Baldacci Family Reunion”. They currently produce about 8,000 cases a year. They were one of the early clients in Total Wine & More – back when they operated something like only 12 stores. Today this retailer operates more then 150 stores around select parts of the country and Baldacci’s wines are still selectively carried in store.
NOTE: their hospitality center is no longer open for tastings. However, retail sales are still available during their normal business hours. Plans call for a new hospitality and visitor’s center – with the hospitality center to possibly open by 2018 and updates to their winery facility to possibly be completed in 2019 or 2020. Prior to their new hospitality center opening – a temporary tasting room opened in August 2017 (in conjunction with their new driveway).
For more information or to join their wine club, visit: www.baldaccivineyards.com
This review has been identified as needing a major update. We will revisit once their new hospitality center is open.
Red Barn Property