The Sandy’s block is named in honor of Ron Melville’s sister and was deliberately planted on the extremely sandy northwest section of the estate’s east vineyard. Sandy’s has performed heroically over the years particularly when considering its extreme location combined with the poor, well-drained soils of this section. The block also contains clonal material representative of the estate’s new era of plantings, including selections from Merry Edwards, Calera (Clone 90), and clones 459 and 114. These four selections, when planted on sand, produce wildly intense and pretty aromatics with a very ethereal and harmonic palate impression.
The fruit is fermented in small (1.5 ton) open-top fermenters. Total skin and stem contact average 30 days (7 day cold soak, 2 + weeks of fermentation and 1 + week extended maceration). From the press, the wine is transferred directly into neutral French oak barrels (10-20 years old) where it remains sur lie with no sulfur until it is gently racked for the first time and prepared for bottling. 30% stem inclusion.
In 1996, founder Ron Melville's desire to grow cold-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah brought him to the Sta. Rita Hills where he established his winery, situated amongst the beautiful rolling hills where the grapes are grown exclusively in their three estate vineyards.
Melville currently has 120 acres under vine. The soil is mostly Lompoc dune sand, interspersed with clay loam and shallow hard pans of Monterey shale. The estate currently has 16 clones of Pinot Noir, 9 clones of Syrah, and 6 clones of Chardonnay - all on a variety of low-vigor rootstocks. All blocks are fermented in small lots and isolated through their entire period of elevage, which provides Melville’s team with an ongoing exhibition of how they can fine tune vineyard practices in order to achieve the most unmanipulated and site-specific wines possible.
Melville “grows their flavors,” using no new oak and adding only yeast.