2003 Byron Nielson Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 418 cases, $40. A special bottling using a combination of 115, Pommard and Swan clones from one of the original Nielson Vineyard blocks used in experimental plantings. The block is high on the shoulder of the Santa Maria bench, which limits the soil depth and gives the site a slightly better exposure. Yield was a measly 1.5 tons per acre. The wine was aged in 30% new French oak barrels for 10 months. · The nose is deeply endowed with dark berries, toast and chocolate, building in richness in the glass (always a good sign). Interesting dark Pinot fruits with a little hint of tobacco and baking spices. Soft, sexy, elegant and finishes clean. The touch of French oak on the finish should move toward brown spice as the wine ages. A real charmer. Reviewed June 19, 2006

Winery: Byron Vineyard & Winery