Tyler Winery was not a producer I knew about when I went to Santa Barbara, but their name kept being mentioned when I spoke to different people in the business, especially when I described my preferences.
Tyler Winery sources all their grapes today, but they recently purchased some land and have planted 26 acres, so they will make estate bottling in the future. When sourcing fruit they look for close cooperation with the growers and they specifically search for vineyards with old vines.
Today they produce approximately 5000 cases in 12 different bottlings.
In the tasting I tried three Chardonnays and four Pinot Noirs, all but one was from the 2015 vintage.
Some short facts about Tyler Winery
- All Chardonnays go through malolactic fermentation.
- Natural fermentation
- Fermented in barrels
- Minimal stirring of the lees.
- Aging: Approximately 20 percent new oak for 10-12 months.
- Open top fermenters
- Natural fermentation
- 15-20 percent stems.
- No cold soak or extended masceration.
- Aging: 15-20 percent new oak. 10-12 months.
Tasting notes for the wines from Tyler Winery
2015 Tyler Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard
Pineapple, flint and yellow apples on both nose and palate. The palate is rather tight with young fruit and a racy citric acidity, mainly from lemon. This wine is slightly dominated by lemon notes on the palate today but with time this should calm down.
2015 Tyler Chardonnay Zotovich Family Vineyard
Fresh wine with a nice minerality and some young stone fruit, apricot and a hint of yeast notes. The palate is slim and has a razor sharp lime acidity and again some green apples. This wine has an energetic expression and an amazing precision. Makes me think of Chablis.
2015 Tyler Chardonnay La Rinconada
Rather shy nose but still with some layers in the fruit notes with soft tropical fruit and lime. Will probably open up more with some time. The acidity is citric and juicy in the expression and on the palate we also get som peach and minerals. This is a pretty and elegant Chardonnay.
2015 Tyler Pinot Noir Block Five Dierberg Vineyard
Rather dense and dark fruit notes with blackberries and blueberries, but also an abundance of herbal notes. Slight sweetness on the palate combined with some dark minerals, cherries and spices. This is a dense and dark pinot noir but still with a coolness and rather herbal expression.
2015 Tyler Pinot Noir Bentrock
This wine has a dense and chewy profile but without sweetness and jammy notes. There are also some earthy notes and mushrooms combined with some dark minerals and herbs. The tannic structure has firmness and the acidity is cool and well needed to make sure the wine stays energetic. This is a very dense and complex Pinot Noir, especially considering that this is a producer that avoids overripe fruit.
2015 Tyler Pinot Noir La Encantada
Fresh fruit from both red and dark fruit where the red fruit is young and fresh. I get raspberries and strawberries combined with some cherries but also some sweet notes from marzipan. The acidity is slightly citric and there are some velvety tannins. For a dense wine it has a rather fresh expression and some herbal notes appear in the finish.
2014 Tyler Pinot Noir Old Vine Bien Nacido Vineyard
This wine has a very Burgundian profile with restrained but fresh fruit, mainly from raspberries, but also some earthy notes. The texture is extremely silky with a precise but careful acidity that adds a coolness to the wine, especially in the finish. This is a very well balanced wine that should develop beautifully with age.
Summary of impressions from Tyler Winery
My impression of Tyler Winery is that they produce great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but that these wines need some time in the bottle to calm down. Today the 2015s have some rough edges, but they show good potential, so some patience will pay off. It should also be mentioned that I tried these wines when they were babies.
The 2015 Pinot Noirs from Tyler have dark and dense fruit notes, but not jammy or sweet, and some of them have a touch of earthiness. The fruit gets balanced by a fresh acidity, making sure the wines are never overpowered. With this denseness combined with a rather low alcohol level I would have guessed they had extra time for extraction before or after the fermentation, but this is not the case. I like the complexity of the wines and they will be interesting to follow when they age.
The Chardonnays have a very acidic profile with an abundance of citrus, making them juicy and mouthwatering. The fruit notes are rather careful and there are some mineral notes in some of the wines.
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