One of my favorite new wineries is actually not new at all. Established in 1978, Babcock Winery & Vineyards in Lompoc, CA has a rich history in the Santa Ynez Valley and is one of the best producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir around.
Back in 1978, Mona & Walter Babcock purchased a 110 acre property on Highway 246 near Lompoc where they planted 20 acres of Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and sold small amounts of fruit to some of the most prominent local winemakers.
As rave reviews starting pouring in for the wines produced using fruit from their vineyard, the Babcock’s decided to open a small winery and started producing their own wines. And the rest is history.
Mona & Walter’s son, Bryan has been crafting small-lot, terroir driven wines from the gorgeous Babcock Winery in the Santa Rita Hills since the early 1980’s. The winery is still family owned and operated to this day.
I just FINALLY visited Babcock for the first time about a month ago and had the good fortune of visiting during their annual open house weekend. The first thing I noticed was the uber cool tasting room, which had a vintage, rock star vibe and was surrounded by the most gorgeous rolling vineyards. For dog owners, Babcock is very dog-friendly as long as they are kept on a leash.
Since it was the annual open house, I had a rare chance to taste Babcock’s entire portfolio of wines, as well as an opportunity to try two incredible, yet-to-be-released wines at the futures barrel tasting. I was truly blown away.
I was impressed by the first few wines we tried, which included a 2012 Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc and a 2011 “Upper Crust” Syrah. As we worked our way through the list to the “Terroir Extraordinaire” offerings, the wines became more complex and multi-layered. Bryan’s attention to detail and winemaking expertise was evident in each and every sip.
I would have loved to take home a bottle of each wine I tried, but I narrowed my selection to a 2012 “Microcosm” Pinot Noir for which there are simply no words, a juicy 2012 “Precocious” Pinot Noir, and a couple bottles of the yet-to-be-released 2013 “The Limit” Chardonnay from the Radian Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills.
I honestly can’t believe it took me so long to visit Babcock Winery & Vineyards, but I’m very glad I did. Babcock is not to be missed.
BABCOCK WINERY & VINEYARDS
5175 E. Highway 246
Lompoc, CA 93436
Phone: (805) 736-1455
Tasting room hours: 10:30AM – 5:00PM Daily