Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 2009
Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, California
The grapes were hand harvested and cold soaked prior to fermentation to enhance fruit character, color and body. During fermentation, a combination of punch-downs and pump-overs ensured maximum extraction. The wine was aged for eight months in small French oak barrels.
The dominant themes are dark berries, cherries, rose petal, red plum, brown spice and smoke. This is a forward, approachable wine that displays the beautiful floral/mineral character typical of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir.
Burghound.com - "A very pretty nose features notes of sandalwood, red pinot fruit and a hint of cherry liqueur that introduces delicious, round and seductively textured middle weight flavors that culminate in a dusty, cool and balanced finish. This moderately complex and attractively stylish effort offers outstanding quality for the price and about the only real nit is a trace of backend warmth."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "Given its entirely modest price, we would be more than happy with the clean and very precise fruit provided by this altogether engaging youngster, but the wine is about more than fruit and shows a sense of crafting and complexity that makes it an out-and-out steal. Its ongoing themes of ripe cherries are accented with hints of vanilla and a wisp of dried-flower sweetness, and it is as trim and carefully balanced as it is just plain delicious. We would not argue with those who would drink it right now, but its structure and very fine fit of pieces ensure that it will keep."
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.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review33.1 out of 5 stars
5 ratings, 2 with reviews47/30/201214/12/2012412/8/2011Reel Pour Andrew - Chicago, IL27/22/2011This is the 3rd time I've tried a bottle of byron and as a pinot noir lover I've been unimpressed... I might just have to give up on the winery... Nose; Red Fruit Punch mostly, just a hint of toasted oak on the back end. On the Mouth; Tart and Shallow Cranberry, not terrible, but not interesting either. No Earth at all, very light, washes away quickly with only a lingering cranberry.41/21/2011This Pinot is subtle and improves as it warms up to room temperature. The aroma is filled with dark berries. Enjoy with friends.