2002 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.