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Orphan Bottle of Wine From Santa Rita Hills – Babcock Winery & Vineyards

Nearly every bottle of wine nested in our cellar has a story celebrating a journey through California wine country. But once in a while we look at a bottle, and nothing comes to mind.  Our thought is, ‘Where did we get this bottle of wine, was it a gift?’California Bottle of Wine Babcock Winery Pinot Noir

Looking through the wine cache for a light red bottle of wine to go with pizza, we chanced upon a 2010 Babcock Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir.  Since we could not remember the journey attached to this bottle of wine, we weren’t worried about price.  After all, it was just for pizza.

So we uncorked it, finding a treasure chest of beautiful aroma and taste we hardly expected.

Now if you’re like us, Pinot Noir is not the first wine for which we’ll reach.  We are Zinners primarily but enjoy all of the fine red wines produced in California. In our world we call Pinot Noir ‘The Bridge’ between two distinct worlds of wine aficionados, those who drink reds vs. those drinking whites. While drinking Pinot Noir, we sometimes feel like they can be a little light. However, it’s the number one selling varietal in the country. It’s a beverage both white wine drinkers may enjoy, and red wine drinkers enjoy as well.

This bottle was anything but light, and had everything we relish in a bottle of red wine. With the treasure chest of aroma and savored cherry fruit and mocha in that bottle, we knew we must find the birth place of this bottled treasure.

‘Pinot Noir’s the number one selling varietal in the country. It’s a beverage both white wine drinkers may enjoy, and red wine drinkers enjoy as well.’

William Hodge - Babckck Winery Tasting RoomVia the web, we reacquainted ourselves with the winery and now remember our visit to to Babcock Winery in the Santa Rita Hills area of Santa Barbara County. At the time of our last visit (over two years ago) it was a very small tasting room and they’ve expanded and created a large expansive area dedicated to their wines.

We recently visited again and sampled their wines.

2011 Syrah Blanc, ‘Identitiy Crisis’ (created without skins) $12 ✰+
2012 Chardonnay $23 ✰
2012 Pinot Gris ‘Naughty Little Hillside’ ✰
2011 Pinot Noir $36 ✰
2012 Pinot Noir ‘Precocious’, Bentrock Vineyard (berry finish)  -✰/✰+ $60
Non Vintage Red Table Wine $9 ✰+
2011 Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley $16 -✰/✰+
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Block 15, $40 -✰/✰+

We enjoyed their nonvintage red table wine (a great $9 value) and its label. It stands out from all of their other more elegant labels since it was drawn by one of winemaker Bryan Babcock‘s children. It was also a great taste and a better deal by the case, which we brought home.

We’ll finish up this entry with the winemaker’s quote from his web site,, that gives you a sense of the journey leading toWilliam Hodge - Babcock Winery the bottle of wine we enjoyed so much.

“I have been making wine since 1982. The first ten years felt like the decade of trying to find which end was up. The second ten years was the decade of trying to figure out which road to take. After that I started to feel pretty good about my craft and the fact that this is who I am and what I do.” -Bryan Babcock

We’re glad to have reacquainted ourselves with Bryan’s wine and appreciate the fruits of his work, a fine wine we thoroughly enjoyed.

Oh, we almost forgot the price of the wine we had with our pizza! The 2011 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir sells for $36 at the winery. You’ll find Total Wine sells his Rita’s Earth Chardonnay for $15.99.

Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Bakersfield

Some notes on our wine ranking system.

– – ✰  means -What’s next on your list of wines
– ✰  means -Not liking it too much
✰ means  -We’ll drink this wine, expecially if it’s hosted!
✰ + means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰ + + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+  with a slash, it means we disagree.

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