2017 Pinot Noir "Ocean's Ghost"
93pts Antonio Galloni
"The 2017 Pinot Noir Ocean's Ghost, from Babcock's estate vineyard, brings together striking aromatic nuance and texture in a style that captures the best this sector of the Sta. Rita Hills has to offer. Ripe, plush and inviting, the 2017 has so much going on. Bright floral notes, plum, red cherry and blood orange infuse this succulent, inviting Pinot from Bryan Babcock."
- Antonio Galloni
The writing of all of my winemaker’s notes feels a bit like homework. What I typically do is take a bottle of each of the upcoming new releases home, have them with dinner, and then see how the opened bottles evolve through that subsequent week. You know, I study them. With this wine, I went through 3 bottles of it, which wasn’t too much of a sacrifice, trying to pin down the concept which would really capture its mojo. That concept is PURITY.
Within my Terroir Extraordinaire portfolio, Ocean’s Ghost has been the moniker for my best Estate Grown Pinot Noir for, gosh, probably 15 years now. For those of you who have followed its evolution, you know that there has been a string of great wines. So, it’s hard for me to just come out and say this one is the best I have ever made. But there is something about it that makes it very special. I think part of it might be the vintage. 2017 was a very good year for Pinot Noir in the Sta. Rita Hills. If you are in the Terroir Club, you have already received Radical, Appellation’s Edge, Microcosm, and Slice Of Heaven. If you have put your cork screw to any of these cuvees, you know what I am talking about. Part of Ocean’s Ghost is also an expression of my new Integrated Nature farming, which leads to a harmony between the fruit and the forces of nature. And part of it is always the soil, which, like many of the soils along Highway 246, is no doubt the sandy remnant of an old ocean sea bed from eons ago.
Aromatically the wine is similar to past years, but if anything, there is a bit more jamminess to the fruit. Along with its signature Highway 246 garrigue, there is also a beautiful toastiness which is again related to some of the finest French oak barrels that money can buy. The wine is actually delicious now. Unlike Déjà Vu, which is a spectacle that is still trying to sort itself out, Ocean’s Ghost this year is a big, structured Pinot that is very pure and integrated right out of the gates. My guess is that it will still be lovely in 15 years, if lots of bottle bouquet is your thing.
Estate Grown, Sta. Rita Hills