Giradet Vineyard & Winery 2013 Baco Noir

Rhone rogues: Like father, like son

Growing up near the headwaters of the Rhone, Philippe Girardet was frustrated by the rules, regulations, and stodgy traditions of European winemaking. So, after a chance visit to the Umpqua Valley on vacation, he came back to Oregon and founded Girardet Cellars in 1971. Oregon was a place where experimentation and new ideas were welcome, so it’s no surprise that Philippe was the first winemaker in Oregon to grow Baco Noir (more on that in the tasting notes.)

Today, you’ll still run into Phillippe in the tasting room outside Roseburg, but the winemaking duties now belong to his son, Marc. The youngest winemaker in Oregon when he started, just 24 years old, Marc’s also made a name for himself. In wine, but also because he made headlines when a light plane he was piloting lost power.

Marc managed to safely guide the plane and his sole passenger to safety by cleanly landing the crippled plane right on Interstate 5. He dodged the power lines, avoided the cars, landed on the highway, and pulled the plane onto the median.

So, if you’re visiting Girardet, toast his skill as a pilot and a winemaker with a taste of their Touchdown Red!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Giradet Vineyard & Winery, Roseburg, Oregon
2013 Baco Noir

In the late 1800s, an infestation of the phylloxera bug wiped out Europe’s vineyards. Hard-pressed to restore wine production, vineyard managers cross-bred vines with American vines. One, Francois Baco, managed to produce a hit – Baco Noir – a crossbreed of Folle Blanche (a white grape used in Cognac) and an unknown American vine.

Grown in cold-weather climes through the Midwest, New York, and Canada, Baco Noir was first brought to Oregon by Phillipe Girardet.

The Girardet Baco Noir is a dense, multi-layered wine with a deep garnet color and flavors of cassis, blueberry, and plum that mingle with silky elements of spice and mocha. A long, lingering finish with smooth tannins and bright acidity keeps the taste fresh.

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2015, Back to School: Unusual Varietals Umpqua Valley | Baco Noir

Explore Oregon Wines: Wineries | Varietals | AVAs | Cellar 503 Selections