Basignani Winery

About

Basignani Winery uses traditional cellar methods and the wines, which are estate grown and bottled, are classically styled and produced. We’re growing over 15 different varieties of wine in Maryland wine country.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Sparks, Maryland.

Contact

Fax: 410-472-2536

Features

  • Producing classically styled wines.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Average Bottle Price

$ 16.50

History

Like many Italian immigrants, Bertero Basignani’s grandparents, Annunziata and Scandiano Bechini, brought the practice of home winemaking with them from Italy.

Following in their footsteps, Bert aspired to carry on the family tradition. In 1972, while still a student at Towson State University, Bert bought 10 acres of farmland in Butler, Maryland. In the back of his mind he envisioned someday planting a vineyard to make his own wine. In 1974, he married Lynne and together they planted 60 vines, 10 each of 6 different varieties.

Bert began making wine using his grandmother’s grape press. He read every book he could find on the subject, and picked every mind available to him as he began experimenting with winemaking.

By 1984, Bert had planted another six acres on adjoining land that he and Lynne had acquired. It was then that they started to grow the vinifera grapes that Bert felt would make the best wine. Federal regulations allowed Bert to make only 200 gallons of wine for home consumption, so the extra fruit was sold to vineyards in the area, while Bert perfected his winemaking techniques.

In November of 1986, after winning many amateur winemaking judgings, and at the urging of friends who had sampled and approved of their wine, Bert and Lynne decided to make the plunge and started Basignani Winery.

Today, they make 6500 gallons of wine a year, and have received many accolades from wine critics and faithful customers as well.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Three acres of Chardonnay vines planted at a site just off Belfast Road in Sparks, are blended with our estate Chardonnay and give weight and power to our estate Chard that is defined by it’s finesse and acidity.

Awards

This is the new winery from Maryland and these debut releases of Merlot [1983] and Cabernet Sauvignon [1983] show good winemaking and promise. The merlot has an attractive, spicy, moderately, intense berry aroma, medium body, good, plummy fruit and decent finish. The cabernet sauvignon has more to it, a spicy, blackcurrant bouquet, medium to full body, a good, subtle, toasty oakiness, good length, and nice, ripe fruit. Both wines should age nicely for 2-3 years.” – Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate from 1987

“If you are looking for a reasonably priced gift for a wine enthusiast in some faraway state – particularly California – you might want to consider sending a little taste of Maryland. In particular, you might want to look to one of Maryland’s newer wineries, the tiny Basignani Vineyards near Butler in northern Baltimore County. With his most recent releases, winemaker and owner Bertero Basignani has shot right to the front ranks of Eastern winemakers. In fact, his luscious 1988 Basignani Chardonnay and 1987 Basignani Cabernet Sauvignon, both of which sell for about $10 in some of the better local wine shops, outclass 95 percent of the wine California wines in that price category. The chardonnay is exuberantly fresh and aromatic, with lush fruit and rich flavors of woodsmoke, banana, vanilla. While it seems to have acid and structure to last, there is no point in delaying gratification with this lovely wine. The cabernet lures the taste with effusive, gorgeously fruity aromas of black cherry and toasty oak. It’s no tannic blockbuster, but it has plenty of body, intensity, and complexity. While it will probably improve with two or three years’ aging and last five to eight, it’s a delight to drink right now.” – Michael Dresser of the Baltimore Sun 1989

“If you live in the Baltimore metropolitan area make a note to try this very good Chardonnay made by Basignani Vineyards in Sparks, Maryland. It is reasonably priced, bursting with flavor, and admirably demonstrates the the winemaker did not over-crop his vineyard and knew how to handle the oak. With its bold, rich, honeyed apple and buttery flavors buttressed nicely by acidity, and its medium to full body. It embarrasses many California Chardonnays that sell for twice the price. Purchasers may also notice on the wine’s label that winemaker Basignani had the courage to bottle the wine unfiltered. In short, this means the consumer is getting a living wine, not a denied, lifeless one. Based on previous editions of this Chardonnay, the 1988 should last for 2-4 years.” – Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate from 1990

“This unfiltered Chardonnay [1989] roars from the glass with honeyed, vanillin, apple, and buttered popcorn scents intermingled with aromas of smoky oak. In the mouth, there is excellent concentration, an opulent, medium to full-bodied texture, and a fine, list finish. It is deliciously forward, but based on past examples of this wine, it should have no problem aging well for at least 3-5 years. Unfortunately, Basignani’s Chardonnay is only available in the state of Maryland.” – Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate from 1991

“This is not the first excellent, possibly outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine made in Maryland. I recently tasted the 1980 and 1983 Cabernets produced by Byrd Winery in the foothills of western Maryland. Neither wine was fully mature, although both remain inky and monstrous. Montbray’s 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon is another winner – a beautiful wine with excellent harmony and rich cassis fruit. With respect to this 1991 Lorenzino Reserve, first, the disclaimer. Bertero Basignani is both a longtime friend and neighbor. He is also a fine winemaker who wold have received more praise in these pages if he were not my friend and neighbor. However, I cannot avoid parsing this classic wine. It is undoubtedly the most complex red wine ever made in my home state. The Baltimore Sun’s talented wine critic, Michael Dresser, justifiably extolled its virtues, claiming it to be a dead-ringer for a mother Médoc. It possesses a dark ruby color, sweet, rich scent of oak, cassis, dill, and herbs. Very concentrated with ripe tannin, decent acidity, and layers of currant flavor to its full bodied personality, is this Maryland’s answer to the famed St.-Julien, Château Léoville-Las Cases? Approachable, but backward, this wine will evolve over the next 10-15 years. As you might expect from winemaking neighborhood of mine, Basignani bottled the wine without filtration. Only 75 cases are available.” – Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate from 1994

Recent Reviews

“But my particular fondness for Bert Basignani’s wines have been for his dry red blends, starting with the easy-to-afford Piccolo (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend) up through his more expensive Lorenzino Reserve, a Bordeaux blend made only during years of exceptional vintages. Marisa? That’s become another favorite, a proprietary blend of Chambourcin, Foch, Chancellor, and Cabernet Sauvignon.” – The Patriot News

“Take a look at Basignani Winery in northcentral Maryland (10 minutes off I-83), where its Friday movie night never drew more than 60 people until this spring, when somewhere in the vicinity of 250 people showed up for the wine and popcorn and movie and pizza.” – The Patriot News

Bert was featured on Foreman And Wolf on Food And Wine talking about his favorite wines and meals from the 1980s. Check out his interview in the third segment.

“Notable wines on display included the 2007 Lorenzino Reserve from Basignani in Maryland. A blend of Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot, this wine was nothing like your typical Bordeaux blend. Instead, it offered a healthy amount of earth and intriguing, savory notes reminiscent of tomato leaves.” – Oregon Wine Press

“This [Lorenzino Reserve 2006] is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, made only in exceptional vintages by Bert Basignani as a tribute to his youngest son.” – Washington Post

“Basignani was among the first to get the whole red blend thing going. Basignani was also among some of the first east coast wineries to make great drinkable dry red wines. And it has always been my experience that Basignani’s reds have aged well.” – East Coast Wineries

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Hours

Monday - Closed Tuesday - Closed Wednesday - 11:30 am – 5:30 pm Thursday - 11:30 am – 5:30 pm Friday - 11:30 am – 5:30 pm Saturday - 11:30 am – 5:30 pm Sunday - 12:00–6:00 pm

Address

15722 Falls Rd
Sparks, Maryland 21152
United States

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