Friday, November 12, 2010

Baileyana Winery

Baileyana is without a doubt one of my most favorite wineries in San Luis Obispo. Actually, it probably is my top favorite. There is not a single wine I do not like and would not drink. I was in their wine club for about 2-3 years when I was in college at San Luis Obispo, and made frequent visits to the lovely winery, and fell in love with the cute pale yellow school house surrounded by vineyards. On weekends friends and I would go play bocce ball outside amongst the rolling vineyard hills, sip wine and catch up, and I would try to introduce the wonderful world of wine to my friends with the free tastings I got from being a member. There were also those priceless evenings when my roommate and I would go to the Baileyana pick up parties and taste their newest/wines for that month and sample some delcious food they recommended paired with it. Those were the days. I miss wine country so much! Nevertheless, Baileyana is growing and reaching out to other areas besides San Luis Obispo (thank goodness). I still visit frequently and drink their wine whereever I can find it! I recently attended a wine even in San Diego that featured their wine. Not only did I get to drink the precious wine but I also learned a lot about the winery, wine, wine making process, and business. Here are some quick/random facts about Baileyana Winery, know known as Niven Family Wine Estate.

Baileyana winery happens to be the first SLO wine I ever remember drinking and liking. Thanks to my freshman roommate who's sister bought us some white wine as a gift once, it soon turned into my favorite. Some facts about Baileyana:
- Founded by the Niven family, who also founded the Edna Valley
- located in San Luis Obispo, with a cool growing climate and uniquely enough, has an east- west growing pattern
- Much of the famous "7 sisters" volcanoes in the central coast add the volcanic/ limestone character to the grapes, making it a perfect area to produce chardonnay and pinot noir (my favorites!)
- The wine maker of Baileyana is from Europe (France I believe), and came to California to make good wines. He uses an old world style, incorporating less earthing taste, and also worked at Latetia Winery (in SLO area as well).
- Today Baileyana has changed names/ rebranded themselves to "Niven Family Wine Estates" because they now have 5 different brands:
       1. Baileyana~ Estate Wines from Firepeak Vineyard
       2. Zocker~ cool climate, California grunar veltliner
       3. Tangent~ pure falvor & varietal flavors intersect. Also all White Wines
       4. Trenza~ Spanish inspired New World blends
      5. Cadre~Tribute to South Central Coast Pinot Noir

"Old World Inspired.
Surpassing New World standards.
Sustainably Grown."

My favorites from Baileyana? Well, obviously their Chardonnays are outstanding. I have not found any wine similar to their buttery, creamy, stone fruit taste. Other than the Chardonnays, their Eccelstone is amazing. It's a sweet white blend that, in my opinion, is perfect to drink on a nice summer day and can be paired with almost everything (assuming you enjoy sweeter wine). Of course, I'm sure there are many who would disagree with that statement. I love it though, and I know my friends like it now that they know about the secret. If you ever get the chance, buy a bottle. You wont regret it.
Blending is every winemaker’s chance to experiment, and this wine is no exception to that rule. Ecclestone represents a careful mix of most of the tangent varietals (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, AlbariƱo, Viognier, and Riesling). Each is chosen its individual characteristics, and for how it melded with the others as we built the final blend. Try it with spicy Thai and Mexican foods."

Christian Roguenant, Winemaker
As I've said, all the Niven Estate Wines are exceptional, especially all their whites. Their Viognier is a true find as well, thought seasonal and rare. They made a nice Riesling, not very sweet, but perfect for pairing with some sort of white fish, or relaxing on a hot sunny day. Go to the Baileyana and Niven Estate Winery, visit the local San Luis Obispo school house, and enjoy a few hours of tasting some of the best white wines on the central coast. They also have unique varieties of sparkling wines, which are only available during limited times. See the Tangent website for more details about their grand white selection. They bring words together better than I ever could. True to their words, their website is an accurate portrayal of their incredible wine making skills, description and all, no marketing hoax there. Go to Baileyana! Visit SLO county! Play Bocce Ball! Buy a bottle! Taste my favorite white wine!  I guarantee you will be impressed, and I wouldn't be surprised if you left as a wine club member!

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