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.
A good share of Byron winemaking takes place in the vineyard, where winemaker Jonathan Nagy selects individual rows and blocks for their potential to express both variety and site—focusing particularly on clones that best exemplify Byron’s balanced, textural and site-expressive style. Byron’s site-specific Pinot Noirs are deeply rooted in the vineyards of Santa Barbara County’s two defining appellations: Santa Maria Valley and Sta. Rita Hills. The wines explore each vineyard’s block and row distinctions defined by soil, microclimate, fog cover, wind, exposure, elevation, clonal selection and farming techniques. wine description
Fiddlestix Vineyard is located at the 7th mile of Santa Rosa Road in the South-Western portion of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. This vineyard has a long growing season due to the coastal influence brought by the Pacific Ocean and is nestled in between the Santa Rita Hills, and the Santa Rosa Hills. In addition to its ideal location, the soils are unique and expressive which leads to a well-balanced and very site-specific wine. The 2016 Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir shows violet and blueberry characteristics, along with earth, hints of black tea, and a long smoky finish. Made using 45% new oak, the 2016 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard has a pale to medium ruby color and opens with oak aromas of chocolate and nutmeg, fleshing out to potpourri, black tea leaves, cocoa, red cherry sparks, and black cherries with savory/meaty accents—that oak is present, but there’s plenty else here of interest and depth. Medium-bodied, it’s lushly fruited in the mouth with tons of spice, very finely grained tannins, and wonderful juicy freshness, finishing long and chocolaty.