Baco always requires cold stabilizing because of its high acidity .
Baco is a French hybrid (Folle Blanche (V.) X riparia, 1902. It is complex, very crisp with dark color and a
fair tannin content. It can be a very serious wine. The fruit is almost always high in acid and may produce wines
of good quality that have excellent dark color.
Fellow winemakers who favor Baco are not scared away by its sometimes (excessively) high acid, but they all
comment that you MUST cold stabilize. It responds well to cold treatment, dropping a large amount of potassium
tartrates. This year (2007) we recommended a pre-fermentation treatment with calcium carbonate for acid reduction,
or a post fermentation acid reduction with potassium bicarbonate in combination with cold stabilizing.
Sometimes the acid is so high that it is necessary to ameliorate with water in addition to the de-acidification
accomplished with either calcium carbonate and/or potassium bicarbonate and cold stabilization. Water is always a
safe option to reduce the acid during fermentation, especially if fermented on the skins. If water is used one must
remember to add sufficient sugar to adjust the water component to 22 degrees Brix. Water used for acid reduction in
a juice may reduce color, but there is less color reduction with skin fermentation and the use of water. Water
shouldn't be used at rates any greater than 15 to 20 percent of the volume.
We strongly recommend that Baco be allowed to age. Bottle it and put it in a corner to mature for 2-5 years.
Wines produced have been variously described as "Rhone-style" or "Beaujolais-style". Wines of Baco Noir can be very
good when made with good cellar technique from well ripened fruit. Similarly, it can be harsh and very acidic when
either of these qualifications are not met. It is an especially good blending component with other reds having
insufficient acidity and it has married well in red wine blends. If your Baco is going to be aged, the addition of
oak with oak chips, stix or oak dust helps increase the complexity. It is not a good candidate for nouveau
Try Baco with foods that are hot and spicy, sweet and fruity, bitter and salty, steak, game, fowl, pasta,
seafood, curries and aged cheeses. The list can include all your favorites.
In the vineyard Baco Noir (Baco-1) is an extremely vigorous growing variety that is best grown on heavier,
well-drained soils. The bunches produced are medium long with small berries in tight clusters. It ripens in
early-mid season. However, it is susceptible to Tomato Ring Spot virus and for this reason the vines must be
grafted on to a nematode resistant rootstock . Tom is planting replacements vines grafted on 3309. In spite of its
vigor we struggle to get young Baco vines to the top wire as the deer think it is a culinary delight. Suckers
(young shoots tied up to grow to the top for replacement trunks) are eaten back to the ground year after year. Baco
has excessive vigor, throwing tons of suckers at the base of the vine with a sprawling top growth. We not-so-fondly
call it a jungle.
Vines should be properly spaced to help accommodate the large vine size. It requires bottom as well as top
suckering. Early bud break increases the probability of spring frost damage. Spring frost may kill the precocious
Baco buds, while most other varieties are still dormant.
This variety is very susceptible to black rot and needs a timely spray program. If not picked when ripe and
ready, it will break down with occasional fruit cracking on the vine. It is susceptible to botrytis bunch rot and
various sour rots.
It is likely that we will see a reduction in the acreage of Baco Noir as we have many better cultivars
that have fewer problems.
IN 2012-2013 WINTER, Tom removed our Baco vineyard due to Tomato Ring Spot virus. Our other alternate
sources have also been removed due to agricultural issues.