Baldacci Family Vineyards is on the west side of the Silverado Trail in the heart of the Stags Leap District, surrounded by some of the top wineries in Napa. Across the street are Stags’ Leap, Shafer, and Quixote. On the other side of the knoll are Cliff Lede, Abreu, and Kapcsandy. The winery was founded in 1998 by Thomas Baldacci, and the property has a history of grape-growing that dates back to 1916. The property has 45 acres, of which 20 are planted, situated on rolling terrain and hills surrounding the winery, mainly on deep gravelly loam soils with heavy clay. Since establishing the estate, the Baldacci family has also added several other vineyards to its holdings. These include the 23-acre Cuttings Wharf Vineyard in Carneros (focusing on Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay), and 8.5-acre Stella Vineyards in Calistoga.
The winemaker is the talented Rolando Herrera, who has his own winery called Mi Sueño and his own vineyard management company. He also consults for a number of other properties. Rolando began his career working in various restaurants (dishwasher at Auberge du Soleil, line-cook at Mustard’s Grille), making his way up from laborer to cellar master at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. He became assistant winemaker at Château Potelle, then winemaker at Vine Cliff, and finally director of winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting before leaving to launch his own project. I spent a week traveling with Rolando in Burgundy a few years back and you could easily see how he has achieved so much: He has a driving curiosity to find out everything he can when confronted with a new wine. We practically had to drag him out of the cellars (so we could make our next appointments) as he peppered the winemakers with dozens of questions. Rolando’s vast experience has given him a broad range of skills, and he is equally at home crafting perfumed and elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnays as he is the solid and structured Napa Valley Cabernets that Baldacci produces.