top of page

Press From the Early Years

"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

bottom of page