In Praise of Baco Noir

Baco Noir Grapes
Baco Noir Grapes

Baco Noir is a highly acidic and deeply colored wine that is often low in tannin content, sometimes said to have a herbaceous taste. Light to medium bodied, it blends well with varieties of less colour. Only 12 acres of Baco Noir are grown in BC which represents only 0.1% of the total wine acreage. The only wineries selling 100% Baco Noir are Ancient Hill Winery and Summerhill Pyramid Winery. I have tried the Ancient Hill 2013 vintage and it is a superb wine. The wine is a gorgeous bold red colour, has ripe flavours of blueberry and plum with a hint of mocha and a spicy sweetness on the otherwise dry finish. The winery only makes about 140 cases. See John Schreiner’s blog for winery details. http://johnschreiner.blogspot.ca/2011/03/class-of-2011-ancient-hill-estate.html http://johnschreiner.blogspot.ca/2015/02/a-summerhill-pyramid-winery-wine-ramble.html

Grape History The short story is that in the 1880s the American root louse called phylloxera devastated all of Europe’s vineyards. The native European grape vine, Vitis vinifera, had no inborn resistance to this sap-sucking louse –which slowly killed the vines. American grapevines, however, did have an inborn resistance.
Growers everywhere in Europe, nowhere more so than in France, were desperate to find or create vines that could resist phylloxera. For decades, starting in the 1880s, researchers experimented with crossing varieties of Vitis vinifera with various American grape varieties. One of these researchers was Francois Baco (1865-1947), a son of winegrowers who lived in the town of Belus, near the famous Armagnac zone in southwest France.
Although Baco’s day job was a schoolteacher, his passion was grapevines. For decades he laboriously tried numerous crossings of Vitis vinifera varieties with American species. In 1902, Baco released just such a hybrid, a red grape originally called Baco 1 that today is known as baco noir. It was a cross between a local white grape known as folle blanche (the grape used for the brandies made in the Cognac and Armagnac districts) and an unknown American red variety.
Eventually, the French decided to spurn these hybrids, preferring instead to simply graft American rootstocks onto their own European varieties. But baco noir made such a tasty red wine, and was so unusually resistant to very cold winter weather, that Baco’s creation now is planted in the Midwest and the East (where cold winters are a problem) as well as in the Canadian province of British Columbia and Ontario. http://www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2009/05/one_of_oregons_best_reds_baco.html

Ancient Hills Winery
Ancient Hills Winery

20150913_140117