Family brings passion to wine
A very small production Pinot Noir that is delicious and a consistent gem year after year is the 2013 Melville Estate Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills.
Ron Melville, a businessman, and the founder of Melville Vineyards and Winery, has sine 1987 devoted his time studying viticulture and growing high quality grapes, first in Sonoma County's Knight's Valley and now in western Santa Ynez Valley. In Knight's Valley, Ron successfully grew Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This fruit made it into the reserve programs of Geyser Peak Winery and Dry Creek Vineyards and into Chateau St. Jean wine production.
Ron's passion for Burgundian wines brought him to Lompoc, located in western Santa Ynez Valley, within the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. In 1996, he and his sons developed 82 acres of vineyards in Lompoc where he heavily planted 14 different clones of Pinot Noir and four different Chardonnay. Ron also included plantings of Rhone varietals, Syrah and Viognier.
This grape production has made it into the winemaking programs of top winemakers in Santa Barbara County from Bonaccorsi Wine Co., Brewer-Clifton, and Jaffurs Cellars to Whitcraft Winery. Approximately 15 years ago, he developed 100 acres in Cat Canyon which he named Verna's Vineyard, two miles North of Los Alamos in Santa Barbara County.
The fruit from Cat Canyon, primarily dedicated to the production of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah has sourced from their Verna's Vineyard wine program. Chad Melville working side by side with his father and brother, and together established the vineyards in 1997 - and the journey began with tremendous passion and dedication that a family brings to a business.
The Sta. Rita Hills appellation is where Ron Melville and his sons decided to develop their estate vineyards and winery, which means that all fruit for wine production is not only exclusively farmed and sourced from Melville Vineyards, but is also produced exclusively by Melville Winery.
The estate achieves quality through the integrity of its farming practice and its respect to the microclimate. The soil is predominantly Lompoc dune sand, with various blocks possessing clay loam with shallow hard pans on Monterey shale. The cooling fog, and calcareous rock and sand helps produce grapes with natural acidity and flavor balance. The microclimate distinguishes Sta. Rita Hills as a premium region for cool climate fruit from the rest of Santa Ynez Valley.
In September 2003, Wine Spectator Magazine presented a feature article on the distinctive Sta. Rita Hills Appellation.
The Melville 2013 Estate Pinot Noir is ruby red in color, and fresh fruit aromatics of mandarin orange, black raspberry and grilled watermelon spring from the glass. On the palate, pretty nuances of rose petal, gardenia and oolong tea mingle with herbal notes of sandalwood, star anise, fresh thyme and fennel seed abound, while the mouthfeel is plush and velvety yet finishes with significant persistence and volume.
This bottle of wine is on Chop239 wine list. Pair this beauty with chop239 Salmon with ginger soy butter sauce and your palate will sing. Enjoy and Salute.
Marco Porto is owner of chop239 and is a wine connoisseur. Along with Laura Owen of CJ’s on the Bay and Adamo Serravalle of Marco Prime and DaVinci’s, he is a regular contributor to this column.