2002 Capablanca Santa Ynez Valley

Capablanca Santa Ynez Valley Bryan Babcock is best known for his brilliant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, made from his estate vineyard on the eastern side of Santa Barbara County. But Bryan has always been enamored of the wines of Bordeaux, and always believed that Santa Barbara County could make some of the more stunning Clarets in California. Much of Babcock's success can be attributed to his relentless search for unusual vineyard sites, followed by his equally relentless determination to see his grapes farmed to perfection.

In early 1990's, Bryan Babcock was one of the first Central Coast producers to identify some extremely fine Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, grown in the deep interior of the Santa Ynez Valley, some 35 miles from the ocean. In this new viticultural area it is unusually warm, warm enough for great wines from all of the Bordeaux varieties. Two vineyards in particluar stood out -- Mary Beth Vogelzang's vineyard planted to Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon (a precious 4 acre hillside parcel) and the Westerly Vineyard Merlot site which is remarkably similar in character to excellent "Napa Hillside" fruit.

This first release of Capablanca was just 10 barrels or 250 cases. The wine was entirely barrel-fermented in 50% new French cooperage. It seems to have the best of the Old and New Worlds. Not particularly alcholic (13.5%) and beautifully balanced like the finest Bordeaux, but rich and spicy like excellent California Cabernet.