Mark Aselstine
July 29, 2011 | Mark Aselstine

More About Kenneth Crawford and Babcock Vineyards

With wine club shipments being delayed for our non-California customers this week, it wouldn’t be right to discuss the wines which are being included (suffice to say, there is a 97 point Pinot Noir included though for Special Selections Wine Club members) but we did have the opportunity to re-taste a Pinot Noir from a previous shipments that has done very well with re-orders. We talked about the Kenneth Crawford Babcock Vineyard Pinot Noir before in this space, but thought it might warrant another mention given how positive our customers reaction has been.

Kenneth Crawford is a collaboration between two winemakers in Santa Barbara. Focused not on farming, but on securing fruit from the top vineyards in the area, Kenneth Crawford now crafts only around 1,500 cases of wine per year. As with many wineries in the Santa Barbara area, there are two grapes of distinction being produced currently. Pinot Noir is famous due to the film Sideways and grows in the cooler vineyards closer to the Pacific Ocean and Syrah grows well in the inland vineyards, which experience warmer day time temperatures, but still have cool, coastal influenced fog and temperatures at night.

For our wine club we selected Kenneth Crawford’s Babcock Vineyard Pinot Noir for a few reasons. To start, it really is an incredible wine. Secondly, we thought it offered an opportunity to feature one of the most famous vineyards in Santa Barbara, at a reasonable price point. Babcock Vineyards is owned by Bryan Babcock, who was truly one of the pioneers in Santa Barbara wine production, opening his namesake winery back in 1984. Babcock was chosen as one of the top 10 small production winemakers in the world by the James Beard Foundation and bears another mention here because the founders of Kenneth Crawford both learned the trade working at Babcock Vineyards.

So why is this Pinot selling so well? I think it offers a good combination of mid palate flavors and although it is a bigger body Pinot than many on the market, that ripeness is well balanced by the acidity. In many ways, this is exactly what you want from a Santa Barbara Pinot Noir. Nuanced flavor, but an enjoyable wine to drink no matter if you’re having your first glass of wine, or if you’ve been drinking and collecting your entire life.


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