While Babcock Winery’s first vintage was not until 1984, the quest to establish this winery began some 6 years prior. Walt and Mona Babcock were looking for a retreat from Walt’s dental practice as well as Walt’s Wharf, a restaurant they opened together in 1970. Their search led them to the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, a fledgling wine region at that point, in which they planted their first 25 acre Babcock Vineyard in 1980. Up until 1983 they were selling their fruit to some notable winemakers but in 1984 Walt’s son Bryan produced the first Babcock wine. This Babcock Estate Sauvignon Blanc won double gold medals, the first of many honors to come for Babcock Winery. Babcock Vineyards is still family owned producing over 20,000 cases annually with 90 acres planted to multiple grape varieties including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Be sure to check out our Babcock wine ratings to see which Babcock wines may be right for you.
. If you like lees, minerals and intense acidity in your Chardonnay; if you like a spine of steel and an austere profile softened only slightly by citrus fruits, then you will love this wine. It’s far sharper than most California Chards. Also more food-friendly. You might find yourself reaching for a second glass. —S.H.
When Brian Babcock calls this “the best [Bordeaux blend] I have made” you have to take him seriously. It is indeed excellent and seductive in its rich, ripe fruit and velvety tannins. Softer and plumper than Napa, but delicious and complex. Needs tinkering to develop greater finesse, but worth watching.
Always complex and interesting, and this year shows plenty of upfront spearmint, fig and melon flavors wrapped in a rich, creamy texture. There are oak and lees shadings that show up on the finish.
Herbal and peppery on the nose, but also shows plenty of fruit, which really expands on the palate to deliver a mouthful of creamy-textured cherries and vanilla. Yet the flavors remain complex, incorporating pepper and herb notes. Ends in a long, spice-driven finish.
This Chard is oakier and leesier than Babcock’s Rita’s Earth Cuvée. Consequently, it’s a fuller-bodied, heavier wine. Softer and fatter, too. It has opulently ripe New World flavors of pineapple custard and vanilla cream pie.
Identity crisis indeed. The label says Syrah, but the wine is white. Actually, golden copper in color. It’s perfectly dry and wonderfully crisp, with complex waves of sour citrus fruit candy, spice and mineral flavors. Fascinating and elusive, it’s compelling.
Made from 100% Cabernet, an interesting, complex wine, showing cool climate notes of mint, cassis, cloves and blackberries. Lots of sweet ripeness underneath the tannins, and a coating of sweet, smoky oak. Decant and drink now.