About 2017 Babcock Oceans Ghost Pinot Noir:
Rare vintage that has been discontinued as the vineyard has lost the vines to Pierce’s Disease. Ocean’s Ghost is a name that describes two magical blocks of Pinot Noir that are influenced by the Ocean, both currently and historically. Of all the Pinots, Ocean’s Ghost is the one whose signature is most thoroughly derived from the ocean.
Aromatically the wine is similar to past years, but if anything, there is a bit more jamminess to the fruit. Along with its signature Highway 246 garrigue, there is also a beautiful toastiness which is again related to some of the finest French oak barrels that money can buy. The wine is actually delicious now. Unlike Déjà Vu, which is a spectacle that is still trying to sort itself out, Ocean’s Ghost this year is a big, structured Pinot that is very pure and integrated right out of the gates
15 months in 50% articulately selected new French oak
The Ghost’s fruit comes from the winery’s best single vineyard blocks, 14 and 15. These spectacular, contiguous sections lie out on what the maker refers to as their West Mesa. It is a relatively exposed section of the ranch, and as such the vines are bathed by a daily cool breeze.
Ocean’s Ghost is a name that describes two magical blocks of Pinot Noir that are influenced by the Ocean, both currently and historically. Currently, the influence is from the climate, its cool breezes and various translations of the marine layer that is offered up daily as if it were a gift from the ocean. Humans are not the only creatures that love a cool breeze. Pinot Noir has a strong affection for them as well. Historically, the influence comes from the soil on the West Mesa, which is light, grayish, diatom infused sandy loam that was at one point believed to be an ancient sea bed eons ago.
Small batch fermentations punched down (Pigeage) periodically over a 12 to 14-day period. 15 months in 50% articulately selected new French oak. Delicate toast.
About The Winery:
Babcock Winery & Vineyards was established in 1978 when Mona & Walter purchased a 110 acre property with lima beans & fallow land in the countryside in the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley.
At the time, they were in the restaurant business, the proprietors of the legendary Walt’s Wharf in Seal Beach. Over the years, Walter practiced a number of crafts, making him a full-fledged Renaissance guy. At the time of establishing the vineyard, he was also a dentist & a commercial fisherman.
Shortly after the purchase of the property, they planted a modest 20 acres to Gewurtraminer, Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnay. No reds.
In 1983, after building a small garage & purchasing a few wine barrels, they took a whack at their first experimental, non-commercial vintage.
In 1984, prompted by promising results, they decided it was time to seize the opportunity to start producing wines commercially.
While they were setting the stage for a small fledgling winery, their son, Bryan, decided to cut short his graduate studies in enology & join them. After spending two years of graduate studies at UC Davis studying viticulture & enology, he was to return to complete a thesis for the degree. Instead, he started crushing Gewürztraminer in late August & forgot about school altogether.
Fortunately for him, there was a tight little group of already established winemakers, pioneers really, who were generously answering his questions & encouraging him to push forward. It was like having a synergy of mentors, making his first few years a great time to be alive & be making wine in Santa Barbara County.