Byron Nielson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008
Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, California
The fruit for this Pinot Noir came from selected high-density blocks planted to Dijon clones. After harvest, the clusters were hand-sorted and cold-soaked for three to five days to intensify fruit character, color and body. Some lots were fermented with native yeasts to enhance vineyard expression. The wine was cellared for 14 months in our temperature and humidity controlled barrel rooms.
Wine Enthusiast - "Silky and velvety soft in the mouth, coating the palate with extradordinary raspberry and cherry flavors, enriched with sweet oak, and spiced with cloves, cinnamon and white pepper. There are even notes of cocoa and orange zest. Yet brisk acidity makes it all clean and vibrant. It's hard to imagine a California Pinot Noir tasting better than this-and what a fantastic bargain. Drink now-2014."
PinotReport - "Medium ruby color; rich, spicy plum and cherry aromas; rich. ripe, forward cherry and plum flavors with lots of spice and clove notes; silky texture; the right amount of sweet oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Delicious and silky Pinot that tastes great by itself."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard, which is produced from Burgundian Dijon clones as well as the old Joseph Swan clone, exhibits plenty of raspberries, black cherries, cola, and roasted herbs in a full-bodied, round, generously endowed style. This is an impressive Pinot Noir to drink now and over the next 3-5 years. "
Wine & Spirits - "Big and brash up front, this pinot noir has some jazz in its acidity, a firm, lively finish that breathes with black cherry and smoke. The tannins are fine, holding the warmth of the wine in check. Ready to serve with Peking duck."
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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. View all Byron Wines
About Santa Maria ValleyView a map of Santa Maria Valley wineries
Situated near the ocean in the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley appellation runs east to west. Pacific Ocean air funnels in to cool the vineyards, allowing the grapes to evenly ripen and reach their full potential. This unique climate paired with the region's well-drained soils helps create some sought-after grapes.
Notable FactsPinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most planted varieties in the AVA, which covers over 7,000 acres of land. Syrah is gaining more ground as it consistantly produces outstanding wines. Many vineyards are owned by growers and sold to wineries, so seeing a vineyard name on multiple producer's bottles is common. One of the better known vineyards, Bien Nacido, is found on the labels of some of the most prestigious wines of the area.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.