The Story of Baer Winery

Posted May 13, 2015

Stephen Fahy DWS


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This is the story of a winery driven by passion and guided by smart people who trusted in the pedigree of world class vineyard fruit. Even more importantly, it came down to one person whose ingenuity and guts grew an artisanal winery from 200 cases to 3000 in only a decade! Lance Baer founded his eponymous winery in the early 2000's by making Bordeaux-blends that re-defined wine lovers' perception of Washington State wines. His style was among the new generation of activist/terroir-driven winemakers at the time to produce Washington State's signature crackling fresh, ripe and savory wines that had so often been likened to Bordeaux and Tuscan Cabernet. In addition, Lance's prophetic discovery of, and ultimate relationship with Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Royal Slope of Columbia Valley's Frenchman Hills, provided an extraordinary opportunity to make wine from south-facing vineyards whose underlying geology would come to make a profound difference in the finished wine! It wasn't long before wine lovers and foodies throughout the Pacific Northwest came forth in droves to buy and build Baer Winery's reputation, buying in to Lance's m.o. for authentic complexity in every bottle that showed beautiful, richly flavored fruit at the same time!

Lance's sudden passing in 2007 galvanized that very community, inspired and committed to his ideals to bottle brilliance that beamed forth with deeply hued fruit, savory terroir and passion, all at once. The reigns were quickly snapped up by Lance's father Les, and sister Lisa, whose commitment to the winery was evidenced by their contracting Erica Orr to make the wines. And that's when things got really interesting.

The 2008 Baer Ursa nailed a phenomenal Wine Spectator score and was named the #6 Wine of the Year in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the Year. Obviously a huge coup for Baer Winery, this jettisoning them into the pantheon of giants, earning them the national and global recognition and attention they deserved. This was a huge coup for Erica Orr as well, herself a UC Davis Masters-level enologist whose training at Corison, Cain, Rudd and even Domaine Dujac was clearly paying off. Building on Lance's style, Erica leveraged top quality fruit from Stillwater Creek Vineyard to make wines with savory power, phenolic ripeness, fresh black fruit flavors, and an unmistakable charm that has wowed many a Bordeaux/Tuscan/Cab lover!

Hear more from my interview with Les Baer himself:

Fast forward to today, and the wines have never been better! The 2011 Baer Arctos, a Cabernet Sauvignon-based cuvee hailing from a 'European-like' vintage, accentuates freshly cut black fruit, cassis, plum and savory cooking spices...just enough to make magic with everything ranging from hard cheeses to red-sauce based dishes to grilled meats. THIS is a winery that will reignite your passion for Cabernet Sauvignon and Washington State wines. Believe the hype because this one is for real. Cheers!

Now's your chance. Click here to buy the 2011 Baer Arctos for only $29.99
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Item: 87803

750 mL

Retail: $43.00

$39.99 per btl