Bailiwick Wines

Owner(s) Bryan Vais, Paul Vais
Web site www.bailiwickwines.com
 
Link to this site

Once in awhile a new producer seemingly comes out of nowhere and really impresses me. Four bottles of 2009 Bailiwick Pinot Noir recently showed up on my wine locker doorstep with no explanation attached. I was drawn to the attractive labels and the interesting sources for the wines. All the wines turned out to be stellar: it was like a gift from heaven.

After consulting the website, I found that brothers Paul and Bryan Vais, natives of the San Francisco Bay Area, are the founders and vintners. They have been making wine in their basement and various garages for 25 years, acquiring the knowledge to launch a commercial venture. They had successful careers in engineering, high technology and finance, but longed to enter the wine business. In 2009, they founded Bailiwick Wine Company, intent on sourcing from specially chosen vineyards across multiple appellations.

The four 2009 Pinot Noirs and a 2010 Vermentino are the inaugural releases and are available through the winery's website store. This is definitely a winery to keep tabs on.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Bailiwick Borderline Marin County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 300 cases, $28. Sourced from Kendric and Chileno Valley vineyards. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Bright berry fruit aromas with hints of toast and herbs. Light to mid weight spice cherry and strawberry essence with a compliment of oak and a savory herb note in the background. Soft in the mouth, with supple tannins, a good cut of acidity, and very respectable finishing richness. An elegant, feminine wine that embraces the gentle side of Pinot Noir. Score: 90. Reviewed November 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Bailiwick Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 525 cases, $28. A blend of three vineyards along the cool Gravenstein Highway corridor. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas of cherry and sous-bois are overwhelmed by oak-driven toast and coffee notes. The discreetly concentrated core of ripe cherries and raspberries is accented with a hint of red plum and spice. Less oak overlay is evident on the palate. The wine has balanced tannins and a finish that offers impressive fruit intensity. A comfortable, easy to drink wine. Score: 89. Reviewed November 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2012 Bailiwick Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 100 cases, $38. Sourced from the Sangiacomo Vineyard on Roberts Road at the base of Sonoma Mountain in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast. · Moderately light ruby color in the glass. Highly fragrant nose with aromas of cherry, spice, dark chocolate and toasty oak. Fresh and vivid cherry fruit on the attack, very expansive in the mouth, embellished with generous oak, finishing with persistent spice-dusted cherry goodness. A very appealing wine that is ready for enjoyment now. Score: 92. Reviewed November 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Bailiwick Borderline Marin County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.64, 225 cases, $28. Sourced from Kendric and Chileno Valley vineyards which lie along the southern edge of the Petaluma Gap. Clones 777 and 667. 100% de-stemmed, post-fermentation maceration for several weeks, aged 8 months in 36% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish color in the glass. Aromas of oak-dusted cherries and black tea flow from the glass and hold up over time. Upfront, crisp and pleasant with flavors of cherry, red licorice and tarry oak. Score: 87. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Bailiwick Foray Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.63, 75 cases, $28. Sourced from Roma’s Vineyard, located at 1800 feet elevation east of the town of Boonville. Pommard clone, yields 2 tons per acre. 100% de-stemmed, inoculated yeast fermentation, two week post-fermentation maceration, aged 16 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish color in the glass. Very reserved on the nose offering demure aromas of cherry and strawberry. Rather primary and nondescript initially with delicate flavors of red cherries and berries. Tasted the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine offered more fruit flavor with pleasing hints of sandalwood and gingerbread, but the wine remained lean and somewhat dilute. Hopefully, the wine will put on weight with more time in bottle. Score: 86. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Bailiwick Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 700 cases, pH 3.68, TA 0.58, $28. Sourced from four highly regarded vineyards (RLR, Moore Ranch, Dutton-Lorenzo, and Hurst). Clones 113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. 100% de-stemmed, several week post-fermentation maceration, aged 17 months in 37% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of fresh Bing cherries, baking spices and sandalwood spring from the glass. Delicious mid weight black cherry core that is thoroughly satisfying. Impressive structure and power for this vintage, yet displaying welcoming finesse. The finish is noticeably powerful and lingering. Score: 90. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Bailiwick Londer Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.57, 200 cases, $38. Clones 115 and 777 from this vineyard located 3.5 miles northwest of Philo. 33% whole cluster. Post-fermentation maceration for several weeks and aging for 17 months in 37% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of black cherry and dried rose petals with a whiff of oak and clay. Middleweight flavors of juicy cherries and raspberries caressed by mildly chiseled tannins, finishing with some aromatic persistence. A solid, well-composed wine that currently doesn’t emote, but should improve with more time in the cellar. Score: 88. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Bailiwick Michaud Vineyard Chalone Monterey County Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.65, 100 cases, $38. Sourced from a unique vineyard located at 1600 feet elevation at the front door of the Pinnacles National Monument. This vineyard is one of the only places where decomposed granite and limestone are present at the surface. Noted winemaker and vineyardist Michael Michaud tends the vineyard. Clones 115, 667, 777 and Swan. 100% de-stemmed, macerated on the skins for several weeks post-fermentation, and aged 17 months in 45% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddishpurple color in the glass. Haunting aromas of dark cherries and clove spice. Tasty core of well-spiced strawberry and cherry fruits. Light in weight but flavorful, with a modestly firm tannic backbone and a pleasing finish. Score: 89. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Bailiwick Silver Pines Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.64, 125 cases, $38. This vineyard is situated at 900 feet elevation overlooking nearby Bennett Valley on the northwestern flank of Sonoma Mountain. Planted in 2000 by owners Norm and Carole Silverman. The vineyard benefits from the maritime influence of the Petaluma Gap. 100% de-stemmed, macerated on the skins for several weeks post fermentation, and aged 17 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Reserved nose offering scents of red berries, dried rose petals and oak spice. Light weighted, even lean, and elegant, with flavors of spiced red cherries and berries backed by juicy acidity, finishing with a tangy citrus-imbued cherry note. A little more expressive the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Could pick up intensity over time in bottle. Score: 88. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Bailiwick Borderline Marin County Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.56, 100 cases, $36. Sourced solely from the Kendric Vineyard farmed by Stewart Johnson. Clones 115 and 777. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. A panoply of scents including black cherries, pie berries, clay, oak, and white chocolate that come and go in the glass. Strikingly fresh berry flavor, seemingly wild and exotic, underlain with well-integrated oak and supple tannins. Unusually ripe for cool Marin County. An evocative middleweight, that enters with aplomb, and finishes smooth and polished. I really like this Pinot. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bailiwick Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.81, TA 0.62, 350 cases, $36. Drawn from three vineyards (41% Dutton-Lorenzo, 46% O’Neel, 13% RLR). Several clones including 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. Aged in 35% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. This is quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot dialed back in intensity: unplugged if you will. Initially shy aromas pick up intensity over the time in the glass offering scents of Bing cherries and baking spices. Delicious, deep cherry flavor on a silky framework in an intensely flavored, mid weight, elegant style, finishing with an appealing slinkiness. Silky tannins make for immediate accessibility. Very good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bailiwick Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.64, 270 cases, $36. Sourced from the Ross Ranch Vineyard, located in the hills southwest of Sebastopol. Goldridge sandy loam soil. Clones 115 and Pommard. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Vibrant aromas of fresh red fruits, especially cherry glaze, with notes of spice, sandalwood and toasty oak. Explodes on the palate with melt in your mouth, perfectly ripe cherries accented by dark chocolate and spice. Very smoothly textured with gossamer tannins and noticeable persistence on the fruit-filled finish. Shows the most oak influence of all the Bailiwick wines this vintage, but it is not intrusive. Very good (+). Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bailiwick Foray Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.53, 140 cases, $40. From The RLR vineyard located just outside Forestville. Soil is Goldridge sandy loam and clones are 113, 114 and 115. Aged in 33% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of earth-kissed black cherries, forest floor and deep red rose petals. Richer and more deeply flavored than the Russian River Valley bottling, endowed with a perfectly ripe core of sappy, dark red and black cherries and raspberries, supported by smooth oak and fruit tannins, and finishing with very impressive length. Still young and undeveloped, but displaying impeccable balance that predicts an optimistic future. Clearly special. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bailiwick Michaud Vineyard Chalone Monterey County Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.64, 120 cases, $44. This vineyard sits at 1600’ above the Salinas Valley floor at the entrance to the Pinnacles National Monument. Decomposed granite and limestone are at the surface. Farmed by Michael Michaud, a former winemaker for Chalone during its glory years. Clones 115, 667, 777 and Swan. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Delicate aromas of fresh blueberry-pomegranate juice and assorted dark fruits. Somewhat earthy, burly and rustic, displaying a hearty core of delicious purple and black fruits backed by ripe, firm tannins. A very elegant presentation that is unusual for this vineyard in my experience. Highly terroir-driven. Very good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Bailiwick Silver Pines Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.64,140 cases, $44. Growers are Norm and Carole Silverman. The vineyard overlooks Bennett Valley from an elevation of 900 feet. Planted in 2000, the loamy-clay volcanic soil is low in vigor limiting yields to about 2 tons per acre. Clone 115. Aged in 34% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of dark red fruits, cardamom spice and candied rose petal. Juicy red cherries and berries saturate the mid palate, embellished with spice and magic. Healthy, but non-aggressive fine-grain tannins add grip and support. Still young and takes its own sweet time opening up. Tremendous finishing power with fruit coming and going in waves. Cellar this another year or two and you will be happily infatuated. Reviewed October 26, 2012 ARTICLE »

2009 Bailiwick Borderline Marin County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.62, 150 cases, $34. Sourced from Chileno Valley and Kendric vineyards in the Marin County AVA. Chileno Valley Vineyard is farmed by Mark Pasternak (owner of Devil’s Gulch Ranch and Vineyard) and Kendric Vineyards is managed by Stewart Johnson (Kendric Vineyards wines). Swan selection, Dijon and Pommard clones. Aged 17 months in 44% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with cherries, strawberries, spice and dried rose petals. Red-fruited, featuring lighter-weight flavors of cherries, raspberries, sandalwood, baking spice, leaf and tobacco. Crisp, with good acidity and polished fine-grain tannins. Very good. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Bailiwick Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.64, 225 cases, $36. 57% Maurice Galante Vineyard located in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley and 43% O’Neel Vineyard situated in the Santa Rosa plain. Clones are 115, 777 and Pommard. Aged 17 months in 20% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Enticing aromas of dark red cherries, berry jam on toast and wooded forest. Medium-weighted flavors of fresh cherries, cola, and leaf framed by soft tannins and bright acidity, finishing with some persistence on the pleasing finish. Not impressive on the attack, but leaves a good impression. Good (+). Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Bailiwick Michaud Vineyard Chalone Monterey County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.62, 50 cases, $44. This vineyard is situated at 1,500 feet above the Salinas Valley floor at the front door of the Pinnacles National Monument. Decomposed granite and limestone create a soil profile ideal for Pinot Noir. Farmed by noted winemaker and winegrower Michael Michaud, the masterful vintner behind some of the memorable Chalone Pinot Noirs of the 1980s. Aged 17 months in 50% new French oak. The microclimate is challenging, offering little rainfall and extreme diurnal temperature variations. Crop yields are painfully low. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely endowed perfume of blackberries, plum reduction sauce and Herbs de Provence. Delicious black raspberry and blackberry core that is intense on the attack, finding every nook and cranny in the mouth, and persisting on the earth-kissed, chocolaty finish. Clean and pure, with bold tannins that are typical for this vineyard. Very good (+). Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Bailiwick Silver Pines Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.63, 50 cases, $44. This vineyard is located at 900 feet elevation overlooking Bennett Valley on the northwestern flank of Sonoma Mountain. Clone 115 planted in 2000 by owners Norm and Carole Silverman. Loamy-clay soil is low in vigor, naturally limiting yields to about 2 tons per acre. Aged 17 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light in color. The nose is redolent of fresh berry jam, spice box and subtle oak that really draws your attention. Sinfully delicious flavors of fresh-picked dark red berries with a complimentary oak (vanilla, coffee) underpinning, leaving an impression on the vibrant and dry, berry-relish toned finish. A charming wine that combines power with finesse. My tasting notes say, “Wow,” and that clearly sums it up. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »