VOLUME 10, ISSUE 9
May 4, 2015
B Vineyards & Habitat
Gerald Bybee is am award-winning advertising photographer and fine-artist who has done a number of photo shoots for wineries. Shaun Bybee is a former model , CEO of Make-up Studio U.S.A. and President of the Board of Summerfield Waldorf School in Santa Rosa. About 12 years ago, Gerald and Shaun wanted to leave their home in San Francisco to acquire a wine country property. They came upon a neglected agricultural and open-space habitat that had originally been the home of Miller Dairy, the last certified raw milk producer in Sonoma County. The original dairy processing building still stands on the property and now serves as a place for equipment and barrel storage, but one day may be converted into the B Winery.
Although initially they had no plans to grow grapes, it seemed only natural since their property sat adjacent to the 30-year-old Hartford Family Arrendell Vineyard. The area presented many challenges because it sat in the nutrient rich and water laden flood plain near Atascadero Creek. The usual vineyard pests, birds, gophers and deer were plentiful. The microclimate did offer ideal conditions for Pinot Noir: morning fog, sandy-loam and Goldridge soils, and one of the coolest climates in the Russian River Valley.
Gerald asked noted winegrower Warren Dutton to visit after they acquired the property in 1996. He advised Gerald to rehabilitate the ponds (there were originally five ponds which became a singular lake) and improve the drainage on the habitat. After this was undertaken, Dutton made a return visit and through his encouragement and assistance, a Pinot Noir vineyard was planted in 2000 and 2001. The clones are Pommard, 114, 115, 667 and 777. Shaun is a passionate supporter of organic farming and a clean environment, and has directed the organic and biodynamic practices on the property (organic certification came in 2003). The B estate vineyard is the only organically certified Pinot Noir vineyard in the Green Valley district of the Russian River Valley.
The first wine grapes were harvested and marketed to Patz & Hall, Lynmar Winery, and Lutea in 2004. In 2005, the Bybees began a collaboration with winemaker Suzanne Hagins (right) to produce a premium estate Pinot Noir. Hagins learned winemaking hands-on with experience at Domaine Comte Armand in Pommard, France, DeLoach Vineyards in the Russian River Valley, David Bruce in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and Goldeneye in the Anderson Valley. She also crafts fine wine under her own label, Lutea in Santa Rosa. With the 2007 vintage, Hugh Chapelle (Lynmar) became the winemaker.
Each of the blocks in the B estate vineyard are picked and vinified separately. A fine rosé is made from a selected block. Winemaking is traditional with an emphasis on elegance and complexity. Shaun says that the B wines “are meant for those with not only a great understanding of Pinot Noir and all of its intricacies, but also an appreciation of the dedicated farming practices that ultimately determine what ends up in the glass.”
B Vineyards & Habitat wines may be purchased from the website at www.bpinot.com or www.bybee.com. Sign up for the mailing list here, check out the blog, and be sure and view the beautiful photography of the property taken by Gerald. If you like wildlife and Pinot Noir, make an appointment (707-823-9199) to visit and taste.
Articles About B Vineyards & Habitat
2010 California Pinot Noir All-Americans Second Team (8.28 12/28/2010)
B Vineyards & Habitat Earns an A+ (7.9 1/1/2009)
Blush Pinot Noir is a REAL Wine (6.59 5/26/2008)
Green Valley Pinot Noir: The Secret is a Three Letter Word (8.11 2/15/2010)
Pinot Briefs (8.9 1/22/2010)
Pinots from the Edge (6.57 4/7/2008)
Rosés of Pinot Noir Enliven Summer (7.21 7/9/2009)
Ski Green Valley (6.31 7/9/2007)
2008 B Vineyards & Habitat Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
13.5% alc., 124 cases, $19. Sourced from estate-grown organic clone 777 grapes. Whole cluster press, cold fermentation. Also crafted by winemaker Hugh Chapelle. · Similar nose as the Lynmar but more restrained with an undertone of summer herbs. White peach, orange and strawberry flavors with a hint of tutti-fruity and spice. The mouth feel is unusually rich for a rosé, with a velvety texture and refreshing acidity on the finish. A French-styled, serious wine with plenty of intensity to satisfy. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 B Vineyard & Habitat Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
13.0% alc., 115 cases, $24. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermented. · Pale pink in color. Shy nose featuring red berries and baking spice. Bright strawberry flavors with a touch of watermelon. Very elegant, clean and crisp. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »
2007 Bpinot (Bybee) Vineyards & Habitat Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 396 cases, $39. Crafted from organic grapes by winemaker Suzanne Hagen. Aged 10 months in lightly toasted French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Aromas of raspberry, strawberry, cherry, rosebush, grape must, redwood and spice draw you in, leading to a moderately rich dark red fruit core that is augmented by notes of loamy earthy, tea, herbs and soy. The flavor of Pinot grapes really comes through. Picks up richness with time in the glass. Harmonious and seductive with soft, ripe tannins. Very good (+). Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »
2007 Bpinot (Bybee) Vineyards & Habitat Sera Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 196 cases, $49. A reserve bottling primarily from Pommard clone grown in the estate vineyard that is organic and biodynamically certified. Aged 18 months in lightly toasted French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Very charming aromas of dark red berries, brioche and subtle oak. Lovely cherry and berry flavor that pack a wallop yet the wine is light on its feet. A dynamite wine that is well-dressed and ephemeral with supple tannins that allow for early drinking but possessing the balance to stay the course. The finish sails on for what seems like a minute. A special wine that you can spend the night with. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 B Vineyards & Habitat Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 120 cases, $24. · A dry rosé with an appealing light crimson color, this is a thoroughly satisfying aperitif or summer food wine. The flavors are driven by red fruits, primarily ripe strawberries, with a hint of spice and herbs. Strawberry Fields Forever. Reviewed July 9, 2007 ARTICLE »
2006 B Vineyards & Habitat Green Valley/Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 336 cases, $55. The organically-grown fruit for this wine was hand-picked over six mornings within a 2½ week span. After de-stemming, a 3-5 day cold soak ensued. Sulfur additions were kept to the bare minimum even after MLF. The bottled wines contain less than 100 ppm total sulfur - below the maximum allowed for organically certified wines. A proprietor’s select Pinot Noir, “Sera,” less than 150 cases, is also produced (I will report on this in a future issue). · Charming demure aromas of red berries with a touch of barnyard. Solid core of black raspberry and cherry fruit with a woodsy bent. Soft and smooth with elegance to spare. Still weighted-down by noticeable, but gentle tannins, and still a bit closed. Outstanding potential, but not ready for prime time for another 6-12 months. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 B Vineyards & Habitat Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 336 cases, $55. Made from certified organic grapes. Aged 10 months in 25% new and lightly toasted French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · This wine has really blossomed since I sampled it first a few months ago. Lovely scents of raspberry, flowers, herbs, toast and even warm cookies. Supple tannins embrace the refreshing core of cherries, raspberries and red currants with the just the right strike of oak. The juicy flavors fan out on the palate nicely and the silky texture is dreamy. The breeding of the fruit shows through in this charismatic and easy drinking wine. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 B Vineyards & Habitat Sera Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 144 cases, $65. Named both for the Bybee’s daughter, Sera, the Italian word for evening, and the bucolic Green Valley evenings. Select barrels are chosen by Shaun Bybee from micro-picked distinctive estate vineyard areas and rows. 100% de-stemmed, cold soaked for 3-5 days in small fermenters, aged 15 months in 33% new medium toast French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · A completely different reflection of the B Vineyard compared to the regular bottling. The nose is pure black cherry and black raspberry with some forest floor accent. Densely fruited and richer, more darkly fruited and earthier than the regular bottling with a plush mouth feel. Despite its decadence, the wine is clean, stylish and velvety. Still brooding, this nicely balanced wine will benefit from further bottle age to meld the tannins and bring the fruit closer to the forefront. In a year or two this will be one big party. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »
2005 B Vineyards & Habitat Green Valley/Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 210 cases, $55. Hand picked, carefully sorted grapes underwent de-stemming, cold-soak and gentle pressing using a small Italian basket press. The wine was aged 10 months in caves using lightly toasted new and used French oak barriques, and bottled-aged 6 months before release. · This is one great Pinot powered by wild strawberries, cherries and exotic oak highlights in the aromas and flavors. A hint of root beer adds interest. The texture is supple and there is plenty of bright acidity. This is one of those Pinots that you can sniff for 20 minutes after the glass is emptied and only a small dollop remains in the bottom. You simply can’t take your nose out of the glass. Dreamy musk, crushed cherries, spice and freshly-sanded mahogany waft from the glass. It is enough to make a grown man smile from ear to ear. Reviewed July 9, 2007 ARTICLE »
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