One of Washington’s great boutique wineries, Baer was founded in 2000 by Lance Baer. Lance was known for crafting exceptional red wines as many of his wines were met with critical acclaim. Since the tragic passing of Lance, now more than ten years ago, Erica Orr has taken over as winemaker. Erica Orr got her start in the wine industry back in 1998, working her first harvest with eminent winemaker Cathy Corison in the Napa Valley. She immediately caught the wine bug and enrolled in the enology master’s degree program at UC Davis where she completed her master’s degree in 2003. Erica also has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from UC Berkeley and three years of research experience as a biochemistry lab technician for 2009 Nobel Laureate Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn at UC San Francisco.
Her background in chemistry gives her a very precise, scientific winemaking style that I have been impressed by over the years. She has become one of the great winemakers in the state with her highly focused, Bordelaise style, carefully crating red wines from the famed Stillwater Creek Vineyard, that are built to age. Located in the Woodinville Warehouse District, While Baer focuses on crafting red blends they also make a downright killer Chardonnay. Their 2017 Baer ‘Shard’ Chardonnay (WWB, 92) is the best release of this wine that I have sampled since they have made the wine. It is wonderfully astringent and shows really good weight and range. This wine is a superb value. The red wines were just as good, if not better. Look to the 2015 Baer ‘Star’ Merlot (WWB, 93) which is absolutely fantastic now but will continue to age gracefully for a decade or more. I highly recommend that you seek out the great new lineup of Baer wines. Learn more about this great Woodinville winery at at baerwinery.com Here are the great new releases by Baer
2017 Baer ‘Shard’ Chardonnay- The 2017 ‘Shard’ by superstar winemaker Erica Orr shows really good aromatic range from sourdough bread to kiwi to vanilla creme brulee. The palate shows really good brightness and richness with vanilla cream, Pazzaz apple and kiwi with nutmeg accents. This is seriously good and shows wonderful intensity. Enjoy this in the short-term while the bright minerality remains. Drink 2018-2024- 92
2015 Baer ‘Star’ Merlot- Entirely sourced from the Stillwater Creek Vineyard, located on the Royal Slope of the Columbia Valley, this outstanding bottling shows a really good purity of fruit on the nose with red cherry, boysenberry liquor and sagebrush accents. The palate shows some good mid-palate weight as red currant jelly, red cherry pie, and suggestions of chocolate pie flavors wonderfully combine in the glass. Bright, showing good acidity considering the heat of the vintage, this excellent wine will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2015 Baer ‘Callisto’ Red Wine- The ‘Callisto’ is a compelling blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (57%) with the remainder Syrah (27%), Petit Verdot (15%) and a hint of Merlot (1%). The Cabernet is quite prominent on the nose with creme de cassis and graphite aromas connecting with lighter sagebrush and chocolate tones in the glass. Silky and compelling in the mouth, anise, cassis and black cherry cake flavors all impress. Showing good richness and minerality this is an outstanding effort by superstar winemaker Erica Orr. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2015 Baer ‘Arctos’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Sourced from the Stillwater Creek Vineyard, the ‘Arctos’ is a spectacular bottling by Baer. The wine shows true Cabernet character with red bell pepper, cigar ash, blackberry cobbler and milk chocolate the fills the nose. The palate shows good mid-palate weight and intensity, with dark fruits that connect with mocha and sagebrush tones. Downright delicious, this beautiful wine will age well for a decade or more. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2015 Baer Malbec- Showing off deepest hue of the great new Baer lineup, the 2015 Baer Malbec begins with a good combination of blue and dark fruits that fill the nose. The palate is decadent, mineral-driven and exceedingly delicious. The palate essentially mimics the nose with blueberry compote, milk chocolate and blackberry preserves. Truly one of the best bottlings in the state, with wonderful viscosity and tension, the 2015 Baer Malbec will have a long life in the cellar. Drink 2018-2030- 93