Colombard, 1981. Villa Baccala | Vintage Wine History and Information

Colombard. 1981 – Villa Baccala
by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | January 1983

Villa Baccala is a brand new label on the wine scene, and this wine is their first release. If their subsequent wines have the same quality for the price, they are on their way to better things. I ran into their booth at one of the trade shows and was surprised to see only one wine being offered. Well… that is all they had for now! A lowly Colombard. It was impressive however, so I tucked it away for showing when a suitable slot appeared in our monthly scheduling.

William Baccala, an insurance executive from Newport Beach, Ca. purchased the vineyard and winery in 1979. He spends all the time he can spare at the vineyard, which is located in Senal Valley in South Mendocino County. The vineyard was planted with old Colombard vines (the oldest in the county), when he acquired the property. He has since planted Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

On the vineyard, located 3 miles north of Hopland, is a 100 year old farmhouse which is being restored. It sits on a knoll off of Highway 101, and will make an ideal tasting room and office complex, when finished. Target date for opening is in May and tours will be ready in June. If you are in the area, call ahead and stop by. Tell Fran Foley I sent you. She is a charming person, and serves as VP of the winery and is vineyard manager.

Colombard or French Colombard is a lesser white grape that has been used over the years for blending. Its history in California goes back 100 years when it was brought to this country from France as a vigorous growing white grape. It was first called West’s White Prolific, then Winkler, and now by its correct name:

French Colombard. It does better in the warm climatic regions. Every so often, a California winemaker will attempt to do something special with the grape. This Villa Baccala is an example. Several notches above the table wine category, it shows very well for its modest lineage and price.

The wine is lemon yellow in color. It has a dominant fresh fruity aroma with a distinct varietal character that is penetrating. The taste is fruity, soft at onset, but a pleasant acidity comes into play in the second half of the taste. Refreshing. Serve with light lunches – sandwiches, poultry and seafood salads. Superior aperitif or table wine.

Cellaring Notes: Not for ageing. Ready now.


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