Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Localization: Santa Barbara, California, USA
Tasting Notes: Rich magenta in color, lively and vivid aromatics of fresh cranberry, lychee fruit, cherry pie filling, and orange oil spring from the glass. In the background, floral notes of honeysuckle and apple blossom weave alongside spicy, herbal impressions of dried black tea leaf, bramble, and cardamom. The mouthfeel is polished initially, with juicy acidity and focused tannins on the finish that add gorgeous weight and complexity.
Notes: This is 100% Melville fruit from our Sta. Rita Hills estate, and is a collection of sixteen pinot noir clones. 40% of the fruit was fermented as whole clusters with 60% gently de-stemmed in small (1.5 ton) open-top fermenters. Total skin and stem contact averaged 30 days (7-day cold soak, 2 + weeks of fermentation, and 1 + week extended maceration). From the press, the wine was transferred directly into a neutral barrel (15+-year-old French oak), where it remained sur lie without sulfur until July when it was gently racked for the first time and prepared for bottling in August. Yields were 1.7 lbs/vine (1.5 tons/acre).
The Domain: There is no place on earth quite like the Sta. Rita Hills. The highly unusual east-west (or transverse) mountain range, close proximity to the cold Pacific, consistent coastal fog, and steady afternoon breezes together create ideal conditions for growing cold-climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Ron Melville and his sons recognized that these exceptional conditions, combined with their commitment to “wine growing,” would result in wines of remarkable quality. Melville Vineyards was established in 1996 in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills and has since become one of the most highly-regarded estates in California.
With the guidance of Head Winegrower, Chad Melville, Melville’s full-time vineyard crew nurtures their 120 estate acres organically, paying close attention to the health of both the vines and the soil. Farming aggressively, yet carefully, and with the utmost respect to Mother Nature, helps encourage the vines to produce small amounts of intensely flavored/concentrated fruit. At the time of harvest, they consider the wines to already be made and strive to not interfere with their natural path in the cellar. To this effect, they maintain a minimalist approach by aging their wines only in neutral French oak and stainless steel and utilize whole cluster fermentation to contribute to the depth, structure, and complexity of their wines.