Nielson Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2016
The 2016 vintage opens with notes of brambly red fruit and cherry, mingling with hints of rose petals and leading to an attractive freshness on the palate.
This wine comes from the three major Pinot Noir growing regions within Santa Barbara County, each of which is influenced by unique soil types and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Santa Maria Valley, one of California’s coolest AVAs with well-drained soils and one of the longest growing seasons in the world, brings pretty aromatics and red fruit flavors to the wine. Slightly warmer in climate, the Los Alamos area contributes ripe dark fruit flavors. Just south of Santa Maria Valley and Los Alamos, the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, characterized by steep vineyard slopes and a distinct gravel minerality, adds power, depth and austere tannin expression.
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Nielson Wines pays homage to its namesake, Uriel J. Nielson, who in 1964 planted the first commercial vineyard in Santa Barbara County, a region previously considered too cold to grow grapes. Known as a viticulture pioneer, Uriel didn’t heed warnings from neighboring farmers and didn’t flinch in his stance that Santa Barbara County could be one among the top winegrowing regions in the world. Today, five decades later, there are now more than 100 wineries and thousands of acres devoted to vineyards, producing wines recognized by critics worldwide for their amazing quality, uniqueness and compelling balance of flavor.
Nielson Wines continues in Uriel’s pioneering spirit, crafting ambitious wines that embody the freshness and vibrancy of the cool, coastal Southern California enclave. Each vintage, Winemaker Ryan Pace produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of the region’s most celebrated vineyard sites, with the original Nielson Vineyard serving as the backbone in most of the wines.
In the cellar, Ryan prefers to utilize small-lot winemaking techniques to showcase the nuances and character of each wine, such as hand pruning, block-by-block harvesting, barrel fermentations and lees stirring. These precise winemaking and vineyard practices are combined to create complex wines that embody the culture, lifestyle and flavor of Santa Barbara County.
Pinot Noir is the second-most planted grape in Santa Barbara County, just behind Chardonnay. It thrives in cooler areas of the region, namely in the of the Sta. Rita Hills, which is part of Santa Barbara’s larger Santa Ynez Valley sub-appellation. Thought for decades to be too cool for viticulture, Sta. Rita Hills began to gain notoriety in the 1970’s, thanks to the pioneering work of Richard Sandford and Michael Benedict, among others.
Santa Barbara Pinot Noir dances across the palate with vivid red fruit and spice. Precision, bright acidity, elegance and fruit-driven silkiness make Santa Barbara Pinot delightfully enjoyable, whether on their own or with a variety of dishes.