WINE REVIEW: Nielsen, 2018 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, CA ($19)
by Andrew Chalk
How out of touch I must be. When I received samples of a couple of Neilson wines I knew nothing about the winery. A bit of searching, starting with the ‘by Byron’ on the back label, resolved that they are part of Jackson Family Wines.
Their obsession is Santa Barbara fruit, and Santa Barbara’s climate. Hence the grapes are pinot noir and chardonnay. They honor he memory of heterodoxical viticulturalist Uriel J. Nielson who planted the first commerical vineyard in the county.
The grapes from this wine come from the cool and established Santa Maria AVA, the warmer Los Alamos AVA and Santa Rita Hills AVA.. The winemaking involves 12 months in French oak barrels (proportion new, unknown, but I would guess only a third or so).
The result is a wine with accentuated savoriness in the nose, tea leaf notes and a palate of earthiness and red fruit. At the statec price it represents a good value, half of some other pint noirs in the region that may be better, but not that much better.