November twentieth was a chilly winter day. The afternoon held a sky full of wet clouds that were constantly taunting those outdoors with a great spill out all over Temecula and surrounding cities. I drove into the parking lot of Baily Winery around two o’clock and as I did, it became apparent to me that, though the drizzle kept some inside, no weather could stop the celebration that was happening here.
Wine lovers tapered into the tasting room while families laughed and cuddled their way into the restaurant. Others could be found outside photographing one another against the Eiffel Tower and French flags that decorated the grounds in the name of this special weekend. Baily Winery’s 25th anniversary was in session and the time to warm the hearts of those that love its wine had come.
I took a stroll around the property at first and absorbed the beauty of the, roughly 4 acre, La Serena Vineyard. It is one of the four Vineyards that house the grapes of all of Baily’s wines. In La Serena, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc grow in a sandy clay soil. Mother’s Vineyard, planted in 1982 holds six and one half acres of the Riesling varieties. In the Los Amantes Vineyard, Chardonnay and Muscat Blanc grow and from the Berenda Vineyard, the Bordeaux varieties are harvested. Baily Winery has over 32 acres of grapes they lovingly care for and work hands-on with. This fact can be viewed in the many photographs (taken by one of the pourers, Lloyd) that surround the tasting room walls.
I spent some time sitting on one of the benches located in the small courtyard, also right outside the tasting room, where stone statues and a gorgeous fountain have been strategically placed. I took a moment by the entrance as the sun peeked through the clouds and gently placed itself upon the fountain, it was a moment of peace and tranquility; a great reason to visit Baily Winery in and of itself.
Upon first look at the building in which the tasting room resides, with the gray brick design, one might feel ancient in theme. As you walk into the tasting room, that feeling is magnified by the realm of medieval tapestries and other robust ambience; not to mention the knight in shining armor that overlooks the bar. It is a wonderful expression of style for this particular winery, very fitting.
As I made my way to the bar, I was able to stop and talk to some of those tasting and get feedback on their own experiences with Baily wine. All reviewers gave a thumbs up, and sometimes two. so I began my taste and I too found the wine to be astounding. With four whites, six reds, and two dessert wines on their menu, one can never go wrong in finding a favorite or two.
My first mission was to taste the 2011 Cabernet Nouveau as it was what the celebration was all about in the first place. In 1986, Baily Winery opened its doors to the tasting of their Cabernet Nouveau. It was the first wine bottled at the winery and, according to the owner and winemaker, Phil Baily; it is also one of the most painstaking wines ever made., the grapes are not crushed but are placed by hand into the barrels and are fermented there in a carbon dioxide atmosphere. This is called the “carbonic maceration process.” This particular wine is good within the first few months of bottling. It is ruby red in color, has a light flowery scent to it, and is fruity with a crisp finish, very refreshing. It also has a French influence, hence the barrettes, Eiffel tower, and French flags that decorated the winery this particular weekend. As November 20th marked the 25th anniversary of Baily Winery, it was perfect that they also made a Cabernet Nouveau for the occasion.
I went on to try some other wines and one that I truly adored was the 2007 Malbec. I am a fan of a good Malbec, this Malbec was beyond good so I was beside myself with happiness. It is one of those dark purple wines with that flowery bouquet, luscious fruit forward taste and spicy, smooth finish; like heaven in a glass.
This was my first time visiting Baily Winery and because of the ambiance, the fun and friendly people, and especially because of the wine, I will be visiting quite a bit in the future. If you have the chance to get out to Temecula Wine Country, set your navigation systems to 33440 La Serena Way and be sure to become a member to receive discounts on wine and at Carols Restaurant, and for free tastings too. Become a Baily Cellar Rat today!
Happy 25th Anniversary Baily Winery!
Photos by Amanda Bussen