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Byron Nielson Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
  • WE96
  • RP90
  • W&S90
0% ABV
  • RP92
  • WE92
  • WE94
  • RP92
  • WE93
  • RP90
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Currently Unavailable $38.99
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 96
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.
RP 90
Robert Parker's 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.
W&S 90
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, , California
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.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

EMP77595_2008 Item# 105040

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