When it comes to making great Pinot Noir, it is critical to source fruit from vineyards that are in a genuinely cool climate and that have soils that are ideal for the grape. Representing this concept precisely is our new BATF approved "Santa Rita Hills" appellation. Located in the cool ocean influenced, western end of the Santa Ynez Valley, the region promises, in my opinion, to be one the most profound areas in the New World for the growing of world class Pinot Noir. The only hang-up at the moment is a potential legal challenge from a winery in Chile whose name is Santa Rita. Regardless of what this region is or will be called, the soil, climate, and location are remarkable here, and it shows.
This wine is distinguished by its grapes. There was nothing tricky about the winemaking techniques. Basically, the grapes were handled so as to gently coax the extraction of soft, pure Pinot flavors. Moderate barrel aging is nicely layered in a toasty dimension without overwhelming the fruit. With all three of the contributing vineyards within a one mile radius of Babcock, the resulting wine offers a level of richness and breeding that is seldom found in this price range.
Babcock Winery and Vineyards
With 80 acres of grapes farmed meticulously by Babcock Winery and Vineyards for low yields, and ripe fruit of exceptional quality, winemaker Bryan Babcock understands that great wines begin in the vineyard. One of California's brightest stars in the field of winemaking, Babcock was not only selected by the Los Angeles Times as one of the "Ten Best Winemakers of the Year," he was also named by this influential daily as "Most Courageous Winemaker of the Year" for his daring style.
The prestigious James Beard Foundation chose Bryan as one of the "Top Ten Small Production Winemakers in the World," the only American chosen for this oenological dream team. In choosing Bryan for this award, David Moore wrote, "Bryan Babcock best exemplifies the traits I look for in a great winemaker. The quality of Bryan's wines speak for themselves, yet it is his personal commitment to excellence that stands out so much. His relentless experimentation, his willingness to explore the possibilities with so many grape varieties, and his aesthetic are a world apart from the usual American approach to winemaking."
View all Babcock Winery and Vineyards Wines
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.