2016 Byron "Nielson Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Elsewhere $40)

SKU #1438217 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Chardonnay vines in the Nielson vineyard were originally planted in 1964; this wine comes from those cuttings used to replant. Youthfully shy on the nose, the 2016 Chardonnay Nielson Vineyard opens very minerally with aromas of saline, crushed shell, gunflint and toast with ripe Golden Delicious apple, baked quince, warm Meyer lemon, pie crust and peach. The palate is medium to full-bodied, rounded and silky, oozing layer after layer of ripe, savory, spicy fruits, framed with tangy acidity and finishing very long and very flavorful. About 43% new oak was used, and 100 cases were made. (EB)  (9/2019)

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "The Chardonnay vines in our Nielson Vineyard feature cuttings from the original "Wente" clone planted on our estate in 1964. The clusters we select contain an optimal mix of berry sizes: the larger, riper berries provide the wine’s rich stone fruit flavors while the smaller ones contribute to the wine’s firm acidity and underlying minerality. Just 195 cases were produced."


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Price: $29.99

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Product Reviews:

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By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/3/2019 | Send Email
Wow. This is a really good CA Chardonnay. This hits all the classic notes one would expect from it but it is cool and effortless. Effortless the perfect word for this wine. Creamy and cool yellow fruits with mineral undertones. The wine rolls on the palate and remains fresh. This will impress all white wine drinkers.

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/2/2019 | Send Email
Having tasted this wine on a few occasions over the last couple weeks, it's hard to think of a better example of classically rich, powerful California Chard than this right now. It's brimming with ripe fruit, baked apple, brioche, poached pear, and pie crust. It is rich and textural on the palate, with some toasty oak and spice. But at the same time, Santa Maria's very cool, ocean-influenced growing conditions, and Wente clone's naturally high malic acid, keep the whole thing in balance and reverberating across the length of the palate. Richness and power meet great verve and energy. Crowd pleasing in so many ways, it's an expression of Chardonnay that is impeccably well crafted and beautifully judged. With this HUGE score and not so huge price tag...we took everything we could get direct from the winery...when it's gone it's gone.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.5