Byron is a Santa Barbara producer of top notch Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. While their wines can be found across US restaurants and wine bars, their tasting room in Los Olivos, showcases some of their harder to find wines. Byron is known for their buttery but not overly ripe style of Chardonnay and if you are a fan of that style, a visit to Byron is a must. Despite 2011 being a cool vintage, their 2011 Clone 95 Chardonnay impresses with nice richness and golden delicious flavors, followed by a very long finish.
Winemaker Jonathan Nagy has been receiving some excellent scores from Wine Enthusiast recently, as their 2012 Monument Pinot Noir was just given 94 points. Nagy has a degree in Chemistry from UC Davis and also has worked for Robert Mondavi Winery and Cambria Winery. I’ve had many vintages of their regular production Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which impress for the price, but their winery only wines were even better. Look for these wines online at byronwines.com, Total Wines or at local Northwest wine shops and some higher end grocery stores such as Metropolitan Market or QFC. Here are some of the great new releases that I tried at Byron.
2012 Byron Santa Maria Chardonnay- Pear and golden delicious with butterscotch on the nose. Palate has lychee, butter, pear and golden delicious. -91
2011 Byron Chardonnay Clone 95- Nose has banana, pineapple and butterscotch. Palate has nice viscosity with pear, golden delicious, and a long vanilla cream finish. -92
2012 Byron ‘Nielson Vineyard’ Pinot Noir - Mushroom, smoke and blueberry on the nose. Palate has red raspberry, red cherry, and mushroom. Fruity but balanced. Drink 2015 on.- 91
2011 Byron ‘Julia's Vineyard’ Pinot Noir - Earthy nose with mushroom, dried herbs, raspberry and oak. Palate has red cherry, dill, red cherry, cinnamon. and mushroom. Drink 2015 on. -91
2011 Byron Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills- Perfumed nose of sage, raspberry and oak. Palate has cran-raspberry, red cherry, orange rind, dill, and a long finish. 50 case production. Drink 2015 on. -92