Sta. Rita Hills

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2009 was a watershed year for us in our efforts to produce more balanced wines. A huge part of our success was that the vintage was so beneficent. The weather was moderate and mild so we had the leisure to harvest at the moment the fruit was just right. Simultaneously, many of our ideas of how to tweak the winemaking process to achieve our goal had jelled, so things went fine in the winery as well.

Melville’s Santa Rita Hills vineyard site is situated in the cool Santa Rita Hills area, and the climate has a profound effect on the character of this wine. There are peppery, spicy and floral notes that you never see in syrahs from warmer vineyards. We use some of our edgiest winemaking techniques with this wine; the raw material demands it, and its potential would not be realized if we used more conventional methods. And, while we are big fans of low yields in the vineyard, in this case we had no choice – we couldn’t consistently ripen the syrah here unless we kept the crop small. As it is harvest rarely occurs before the last week of October.

Melville is exotic; it is the one that gets all the attention because it has so much upfront appeal. The aroma of this wine is so compelling, and the flavors so rich, that it is hard to ignore.

Blend: 100% Syrah | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 16 Months | Total Production: 179 cases

Press Reviews

Antonio Galloni’s Vinous

“A distinctly powerful, brooding Syrah, the 2009 Melville is going to need some time to come around. Tar, menthol, graphite, smoke and earthiness all flesh out in the glass over time. This is an especially somber wine from Ojai with considerable gravitas and no shortage of personality.” – AG 93 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“Every bit as good, with a touch more gaminess and meatiness (which is common for the vineyard), the 2009 Syrah Melville dishes out superb blackberry, pepper, bacon fat and smoke as well as supple, voluptuous feel on the palate. Medium to full-bodied, with gorgeous purity of fruit and a solid mid-palate, it will have over a decade of longevity.” – JD 95 Points