One of the big players in Woodinville in the past few years has been Baer. In a tragic story, the founder of Baer winery, Lance Baer, passed away at age 39 in 2007. While Lance produced some extraordinary red wines while he was still alive, he sadly was not able to see his most famous wine, Ursa, get named as one of the top 100 wines (#6 on the Top 100) for their 2008 effort. Scoring 95 points from Wine Spectator really put Baer on the map, as they began selling out of their wines almost immediately.
Baer focuses on the art of blending. Head winemaker Erica Orr is one of the state’s great winemakers. She uses a Bordelaise touch to her exceptional red blends. I recently sat down with Erica and she talked about her excitement for the great 2013 vintage. The proof is in the bottle. Erica sources her fruit from the Stillwater Creek vineyard, producer of some of the best Merlot, Cabernet, Cab Franc, and Chardonnay in the state. A visit to their small, unpretentious tasting room in Woodinville’s warehouse district shouldn’t be missed. Baer is currently pouring their fantastic red blends, as well as a very good unoaked Chardonnay, their ‘Shard’ that they began crafting a few years back. Baer keeps their production small, so they regularly run out of their more popular blends, such as the ‘Ursa’ and ‘Arctos’ red wines. I was highly impressed with their 2013 releases, just as I was with their 2012 wines. These wines were incredible and very consistent across the board. Here are some of the great Baer wines that I recently tried at their tasting room. Learn more about Baer at baerwinery.com Here are the great new releases by Baer.
2015 Baer 'Shard' Chardonnay- Head winemaker Erica Orr has developed a very strong following for her 'Shard' Chardonnay. This stainless Chardonnay begins with aromas of poached pear, brioche, and star jasmine. There are flavors of poached pear, Gala apple and suggestions of Meyer lemon rind that sit alongside the bright minerality. This shows nice balance considering the heat of the vintage. Drink 2016-2021- 91
2013 Baer 'Ursa' Red Wine- I have been reviewing 'Ursa' releases for nearly ten years and this release is as good as any. The wine is a blend of larger portions of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Needing a two hour decant prior to savoring, this vibrant red blend starts with aromatics reminiscent of red cherry, red raspberry, milk chocolate and tobacco. There are rich flavors of red cherry, cherry tomato, smoke, graphite and anise. The mouthfeel and texture of this wine is absolutely gorgeous. Kudos to head winemaker, Erica Orr, on this balanced, yet dense treat. Drink 2016-2028- 93
2013 Baer 'Callisto' Red Wine- Following up the fantastic new release red wines, the 2013 Callisto shows very nice poise from a hot vintage. Like the other new Baer releases, this wine shows that Stillwater Creek vineyard fruit maintains freshness in hot vintages. This excellent red blend begins with aromas of sage, blackberry, cassis and hints of milk chocolate. There are deep flavors of anise, smoke, milk chocolate and tar. Deep and rich, this needs a two hour decant prior to enjoying. Drink 2016-2028- 92
2013 Baer 'Star' Red Wine- The 2013 'Star' by Baer is another gorgeous red blend by Baer. This Merlot dominant wine shows its feminine side. Needing more than a two hour decant, as this slowly opens the wine yields aromas of black cherry, black olive, mocha and cloves. There are flavors of red cherry, cassis, Turkish coffee and cedar. Profound and round right now, this wine will cellar beautifully. This is structured and seamless wine that has a sumptuous mouthfeel. Best 2016-2029- 93
2013 Baer Malbec- The 2013 Malbec by Baer and head winemaker Erica Orr is a gorgeous new release wine. This wine begins with aromas of creosote, milk chocolate, sagebrush and pipe tobacco. There are deep flavors of black cherry, black olive, milk chocolate, anise, spicebox and suggestions of white pepper. There is a really vibrant character to this full-bodied Malbec that showcases this wonderful hot vintage. Drink 2016-2028-93
2013 Baer 'Arctos' Red Wine- The 2013 'Arctos' by Baer is a gorgeous new release wine that is a blend of 84% Cabernet with 8% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. Showing some restraint now, this Cabernet more than two hours in the decanter to unwind. This wine opens with aromatics of anise, sagebrush, dill and black olive. There are flavors of black cherry, black olive, wild blackberry preserves and tar in this very black fruit filled amalgamation. There is a gorgeous and polished texture to this wine and an almost Bordelaise feel that is striking considering the heat of the vintage. This wine is a joy to savor right now as this is beautifully done by head winemaker Erica Orr. Drink 2016-2029- 93