Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Santa Maria Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 10/20/2014
Byron Nielson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004
Byron Nielson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004
(search item no. 92747)
The Wine News rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 10/20/2014: $23.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 96 points
2008 PinotReport rating: 93 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2008 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2007 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2002 Wine Enthusiast rating: 94 points
2001 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Planted in 1964, Nielson Vineyard is the oldest commercial vineyard in Santa Barbara County. It is farmed to an average yield of less than three tons per acre. Ranked as a Climate Region I — the coolest of the five grape-growing regions on the U.C. Davis scale — Nielson Vineyard enjoys soils that are lean and well drained. These conditions are ideal for minimizing plant vigor, thereby creating low yields, small berries, and intensity of flavor in the fruit. After a decade of experimentation, Byron is able to pinpoint the ideal clones, rootstock, and planting density to provide the highest quality Pinot Noir.

This wine is complex and richly layered, displaying aromas of dark cherry and rose petals with hints of brown spice and earthiness. The flavors are bold and reveal remarkable extraction and concentration with nuances of red and dark cherry, plum and brown spice.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Byron:

About Byron:

Byron was founded in 1984 by winemaker Ken Brown. With years of experience as a winemaker in Santa Barbara County, Ken recognized the Santa Maria Valley's potential for great wines in the Burgundian style, and was the first winemaker to introduce Rhone-style grape varieties to the area. The first crush at Byron Vineyard & Winery produced 7,600 cases, and Byron soon gained national recognition for high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

In 1990, the Robert Mondavi family purchased Byron, and Ken Brown became Winemaker and General Manager. He and Tim Mondavi, Robert's son, set about designing the new Byron Winery as an expression of their shared belief in natural farming, experimental viticulture and gentle grape handling. They wanted to eliminate pumping, which shears grape stems, skin and seeds, allows tannins and other harsh elements into the juice and can make wine bitter.

With the aid of noted architect R. Scott Johnson, who designed the Opus One winery in Napa Valley and San Francisco's Transamerica building, Ken designed a multi-level winery that replaces pumping with gravity flow, resulting in more complex, dynamic wines. Byron's vineyards were also expanded and replanted as Ken Brown experimented with trellising systems, new rootstocks and clones, row orientation, and planting density in his quest for the perfect grape.