Santa Barbara

Byron Pinot Noir 2013, Santa Barbara County, USA

Drunk@home November 2015

The winery

Byron, now known as Nielson was originally founded in 1984 and is located in Santa Barbara, California. In 2006 the Byron winery was acquired by the Jackson Family Wine Collection, founded in 1982 by Jess Jackson and still family owned. 

The Nielson Vineyard that surrounds the winery was Santa Barbara’s first commercial vineyard. When planted in 1964 by Uriel Nielson others said it was too cold and inhospitable for grapes, but time has proved the naysayers wrong.

Ken Brown, Byron’s founder, acquired the 432-acre Nielson Vineyard in 1989, five years after he launched the winery. It is located roughly 18 miles east of the Pacific Ocean at 500 to 750 feet above sea level. Chilling winds and thin soils ensure that Byron’s wines possess great intensity, heightened aromatics and firm structure.

Since becoming head winemaker in 2003, Jonathan Nagy has implemented many new methods including red/green fruit drop, intensive sorting, native yeast fermentations and small-lot fermentations.The winery focuses on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

Fermented Grape Tasting Notes

2013 was a very good vintage in Santa Barbara County with an even and warm summer with dry autumn. Many growers described it as a near perfect harvest with large yields with powerful, concentrated reds and bright and flavourful whites

Not a top Californian Pinot Noir at this price point and this is the winery's basic wine. Nielson now offers Byron Clone 667 Pinot Noir and Santa Rita Hills, Swan Clone and Whole Cluster as their premium range.

Good powerful black fruit as you'd expect with a hint of minerality which is a feature of the Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara county. Not a strong nose but well balanced with acidity balancing the signficant fruit forward style. Good value if you like an easy drinking Pinot Style but don't expect a French style. Would be interesting to try their premium Pinot Noir's.