Baked apple, crushed vanilla bean, lemon curd. Poached pear, bright honeysuckle, whipped banana cream. Fresh jasmine and crunchy hay, expressive nutmeg and fragrant cinnamon. Grilled peach and juicy pineapple cascade down a delectable diorama of warm confections and baking spice, landing squarely atop toasted coconut and golden marshmallow. Butterscotch and hazelnut further complement the ripe decadence with more layers of luscious complexity. As fruit-driven and friendly as initial impressions indicate this wine is actually quite serious and structured, possessing booming acidity and a lean and balanced mouthfeel that could not be further from sappiness or saturation. Medium in body yet bursting with mouthwatering concentration. This 2016 Nielson Vineyard Chardonnay by Byron Winery is a gorgeous, delicious, and unapologetically new world Santa Barbara Chard.
While they are usually consumer favorites, many soft, round, and buttery California Chardonnay's are criticized for simply being out of balance. If a winemaker's goal is to achieve a high level of ripeness other structural factors might be neglected. This bottling, crafted by Byron Winery using 100% Chardonnay sourced from their estate Nielson Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley, is absolutely not that kind of wine. Although generous in its ripeness and depth of flavor this wine is refreshingly balanced, with bright acidity that cuts through its roundness with ease. The cool, long, and sunny growing season that the wonderful Nielson Vineyard experiences has worked to create a wine here with a combination of zippy cool-climate zest and warm sunshine-filled delight. Throw in a bit of new oak as winemaker Jonathan Nagy has done and you have this beautiful bottle - undoubtedly one of the most fun Cali-style Chardonnay's we've run into in quite some time.
What is your favorite opulent Chardonnay?
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