2014 Byron Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard
2014 Byron Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard – This wine is a combination of Dijon and heritage clones planted in sandy soils on Byron’s estate Nielson Vineyard. The site’s location at the warmer, east end of the Santa Maria Valley accounts for the dark color and ripe flavor profile. This wine was 100% destemmed to accentuate its naturally rich texture and seamless tannins, then cold-soaked for three to five days to intensify the dark fruit character, color, and body.
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.