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Byron Winery was founded in 1984 by winemaker Ken Brown. With years of experience as a winemaker in Santa Barbara County, Ken recognized the region'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 Winery produced 7,600 cases, and Byron Winery soon gained national recognition for high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
In 1990, the Robert Mondavi family purchased Byron Winery, 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. The result is a remarkably smooth wine.
Byron Winery were 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.
Byron Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley, with its bright fruit and superb balance of richness and natural acidity, is a classic expression of Chardonnay from this cool coastal appellation. Aromas of crisp apple, mango and orange blossom are accented by hints of citrus zest, mineral and a pleasant toastiness. On the palate, the wine is richly textured with traces of apple, peach, hazelnut and a gentle undercurrent of French oak that boosts complexity. The long, silky finish culminates with an appealing touch of natural acidity. Varietal blend: 100% Chardonnay.
Complex and expressive with aromas of ripe cherry, plum, tobacco, cedar, clove, violets and rose petals. The wine displays remarkable intensity of flavor with a richly layered texture and a long, plush finish.
Byron 1998 Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard beautifully reflects both the historic pedigree and carefully executed redevelopment of the Nielson Vineyard. The wine displays clean, fragrant aromas of wild cherry and spicy oak with a touch of leather and cinnamon stick. The flavors are pure, enduring and flow through a mid-palate opulence framed by a firm structure and mature tannins before giving way to a long, velvety finish. With a profoundly rich texture and superb natural acidity, the wine promises even greater complexities with additional bottle age and may be cellared for five years or more.