Santa Maria Valley provides ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir with its sunny, dry days, cool nights and long growing season. The resulting fruit, from Byron's Dijon clones, is the basis of well-structured, complex and concentrated wines. Aged 11 months in French barriques — 30 percent new — the wine displays aromas of earth, spice and both red and dark berries with subtle smoky nuances. On the palate, intense flavors of black cherry and plum are balanced by bright acid and even tannins, leading to a smooth, velvety finish. Decant it to aerate. It's a great wine to enjoy with roasted meats or vegetables, fowl and game. Where to buy it: Elio's Wine Warehouse, Rouses on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Dorignac's, Langenstein's in Metairie, Breaux Mart on the West Bank and Corkscrewed Wine Shop in Kenner. Where to drink it: K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, Restaurant August, Antoine's, Vizard's, Tommy's Wine Bar and Chops Bistro & Martini Bar. (Listings current at press time.) — Brenda Maitland
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