Clear ruby with Barney-purple edges. Really obvious wet-mop and Grenache-ish fruit forward-ness blows off in a couple minutes of air. It had me scared. Unfortunately, the resulting thin fruit and healthy oak are not exactly what I was hoping for. Green and briery, with a touch of wet earth and peppery, ripe fruit. Initial uptake brings you back to what you remembered from past vintages: perfectly unapologetic Pinot fruit from a World-Class AVA and lovely acid. And no one can ignore the tannin on this one. Starting mid-palate and continuing on for ages and ages way beyond the finish.
I really feel Byron Nielson is one of those wines which does not show well young. Quite a bold marketing theory in 2014. It’s like Fuel Injection vs. Carburetor. FI sacrifices pure performance in order to make an engine run perfectly cold, hot, down at the beach, high in the mountains, low speeds and high speeds. This pretty much describes most of today’s wine. Carburetors give you far more performance AT THE INTENDED RANGE but it may not idle well or run well cold and might miss a bit around the city.
From tasting several vintages, I feel Byron Nielson definitely is something which doesn’t show particularly well out-of-the-box. Vintages with only a couple years under their belt have blown me away–and I can smell and taste ALL THOSE THINGS in this wine, but here they have an infant-edge on them. For an under-40$ SMV PN it is hard to argue against setting a few aside for a half-decade. I already have. “Winery Only” in Solvang (according to Byron) but they DO pop up retail frequently.
2012 BYRON Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard Santa Maria Valley 14.2