Wine Shindig

Explorations in wine, particularly Pinot Noir and non-Chardonnay whites. Cheers!

Byron Nielson Vineyard Pinot Noir vs Ornellaia Le Volte


For a recent Sunday diner, W and I cooked up these tasty pork chops from a Food & Wine recipe… and decided to pit these two wines against each other.

Like another Byron Pinot Noir (not this Nielson Vineyard one), I bought this wine in memory of my grandpa, Byron Gwaltney… known as Pop. Unfortunately, neither of these wines will be purchased again. Very acidic and spicy, the Byron Nielson Pinot paired not too well with the pork chop and definitely not well on its own. Big fail on this one…

On the other hand… The Ornellaia Le Volte is a Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cab Sauv grapes. It is absolutely delicious! Great fruit backbone, smooth tannins, absolutely stunning. If you like wines that are predominantly spicy and lower on fruit, then you probably won’t love this wine. The big fruit went great with the soy, caramelized glaze on the pork chops… and this is a wine you can enjoy all on its own as well. This wine makes me happy :) It’s a little pricey to be an everyday wine… but enjoy it when you can!

Byron Nielson Pinot Noir
Origin: Santa Maria Valley, California
Where: Smyrna WOB
Price: $28
Next time: I’ll pass

Ornellaia Le Volte
Origin: Tuscany, Italy
Where: Highland Wine
Price: $29
Next time: Get a glass!
Great gift wine for friends

Byron Pinot Noir

Byron Pinot Noir

Byron Pinot Noir

I bought this wine in memory of my grandpa, whose first name was Byron. According to the label, this winemaker was the first commercial vineyard planted in Santa Barbara County, back in 1964. Pretty cool!

Origin: Santa Barbara County, California

Where: Smyrna WOB; $19.99 bottle

Unfortunately, this wine was nothing what I was hoping for. This past week has not been a successful wine-tasting week… lots of “I’ll pass” on these Pinots that lack the light-medium, punchy fruit-forward flavor that I’m looking for. Oh well, at least I won’t be craving this $20 bottle.

Next time: I’ll pass.