Sta. Rita Hills

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Even for the chilly Santa Rita Hills appellation it was an unusually cool and humid growing season with high disease pressure. We waited through several cycles of rain and warm dry weather, but the vines struggled and the grapes had difficulty ripening. When I finally chose to bring them into the winery there was no question that we needed to sort them cluster by cluster to keep only the healthy fruit. It was hard to discern what to discard as the juice was flowing and the clusters were falling apart, and in the end we discarded 40% of the crop. Their disintegrating state confirmed at least that the grapes were ripe, even at their lower than usual sugar levels.

It was difficult to start the long process of fermentation and elevage with doubts and fear for the integrity of the future wine. But at the first tasting when we pressed the syrah to barrel it was already showing pretty aromas and wonderfully nuanced and complex fragrances. The doubts faded as we began to realize that this was not the usual Melville, there was something special here, something unlike any of the other vintages. Today the 2010 Syrah Melville is one of our favorite expressions of the varietal and certainly one of the most powerful transformations from grape to wine we have witnessed. There might be truth to the notion that only under hardship can beauty be revealed. We see this struggle where syrah barely achieves maturity in many years yet yields peppery, smoky exotic wines with fresh vibrant flavors that marry so well with hearty foods. A generosity, but also a softness encapsulating a dizzying array of balsamic, spicy incense aromas. This 2010 confirms our belief that the best wines come from sites and years where the vines struggle to ripen their crop. This is a wine 4hat is delicious to drink today yet will continue to develop for another ten years at minimum.

Blend: 100% Syrah | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: 17% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 165 cases

Press Reviews

Antonio Galloni’s Vinous

“Dark red plum, blueberry, mint, sage, tobacco and black pepper lift from the glass in the 2010 Syrah Melville Vineyards. Nuanced and beautifully expressive on the palate, the 2010 is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Hints of lavender, violets, mint and blackberries are layered into the super-expressive, lifted finish.” – AG 94 Points