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Babcock Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2000

Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
  • W&S92
0% ABV
  • WE91
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
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Babcock

Babcock Winery and Vineyards

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Babcock Winery and Vineyards, Central Coast, California
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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."

Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.

NDV256114_2000 Item# 47522