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Byron Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 2009

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
  • BH89
  • CG88
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Winemaker Notes

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 ensuredmaximum extraction. The wine was aged for eight months in small French oak barrels.

The dominant themes are darkberries, cherries, rose petal, red plum, brown spice and smoke. This is a forward, approachablewine that displays the beautiful floral/mineral character typical of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir.

Critical Acclaim

BH 89

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.

CG 88
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.

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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.

Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions...

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley. Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types, and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.

RPT53107396_2009 Item# 106201

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