The BYRON Pinot Noir Nielson Vineyard is one of California’s great estate-grown Pinots regardless of price, and at $36 it’s a relative steal. This was my wine of choice to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary even though I could have easily chosen from my Kistler Chardonnay, Leonetti Cabernet, Catena Zapata Nicasia Malbec or Chateau Leoville Barton St.-Julien. Put your nose in the glass, and you can smell romance. The best Pinots from the Santa Maria Valley of Santa Barbara, like this 2008, are luscious, deep, full-bodied and fragrant and seem heaven-sent for a candlelit dinner. We drink Pinots when life is full, rich and rewarding, when our hearts are ablaze with passion and when we are content. This Byron is a wine to drink in those beautiful silences—candlelight a-flicker—in silent meditation and reflectiveness . . . grateful for all that is good. -J.M.
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