2018 Melville Chardonnay Estate Santa Rita Hills

Chardonnay - 750ML
Reg: $39.94
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JD 93 VN 93 WE 93 WA 92
JD 93

jebdunnuck.com, August 2020

There are two Chardonnays from Chad Melville. Looking first at the 2018 Chardonnay Estate Sta. Rita Hills, its medium gold color is followed by a spicy, salty bouquet of crushed citrus, iodine, honeyed minerality, and...
VN 93

Vinous, August 2020

Melville's 2018 Chardonnay Estate is open-knit and inviting from the very first taste. Apricot, orange jam and passionfruit give the 2018 a decidedly exotic feel. This mid-weight Chardonnay has a ton to offer. Even with...
WE 93

Wine Enthusiast, July 2021

This winery's Chardonnays have existed on their own unique plane since the days when Greg Brewer was the winemaker. There's a yogurt-like dairy kick to the nose alongside orange peel, dried pear and sea salt. The palate...
WA 92

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, October 2020

The 2018 Chardonnay Estate has a soft nose of white peaches and quince with touches of baker's yeast, beeswax and chamomile. The palate is medium-bodied, round and silky with lovely dichotomy of tangy uplift and perfumed...


Color & Type White
Varietal Chardonnay
Country USA
Region California
Sub-region Central Coast
Appellation Santa Barbara
Sub-appellation Santa Rita Hills
Vintage 2018
Size 750ML
Percent alcohol 13.9%
Closure Cork

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.

This wine is 100% from Melville’s Sta. Rita Hills estate and is a combination of clones 4, 76, and 95, along with Mount Eden, Hanzell, Hudson, Wente and Melville selections. The estate’s chardonnay is planted predominantly on the west side of their estate where they have several different types of sandy soil.

Because the west side receives the brunt of brutal, ocean winds and has only poor soils, Melville feels their chardonnay always captures the vibrancy, minerality, and concentrated flavors that are hallmarks of their appellation. Fruit is harvested by hand then gently whole-cluster pressed, cold settled overnight and transferred by gravity to barrel for fermentation in neutral French oak barrels (10 to 20 years old), with zero malolactic conversion. Sur lie aging takes place without any lees disturbance.

Introducing the exquisite 2018 Melville Chardonnay Estate Santa Rita Hills, a true gem from the renowned Santa Barbara appellation in California's Central Coast region. This white wine is a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship of Melville, a producer that consistently delves into the depths of flavor to create wines that are both captivating and elegant.

In the glass, the 2018 Melville Chardonnay Estate Santa Rita Hills showcases a medium gold hue that hints at the richness and complexity that lies within. The nose is an invitation to a world of sensory delights, with a spicy, salty bouquet that entices the senses. Crushed citrus, iodine, honeyed minerality, and white flowers dance harmoniously, creating a symphony of aromas that captivate the olfactory senses.

On the palate, this Chardonnay exhibits good richness and a medium-bodied mouthfeel that is both satisfying and refreshing. Bright acidity enlivens the senses, providing a perfect balance to the richness of the wine. Flavors of apricot, orange jam, and passionfruit take center stage, lending a decidedly exotic feel to the wine. Despite its intensity, the 2018 Melville Chardonnay remains gracious and understated, a testament to the winemaker's artistry.

Critics have showered this wine with praise, with Jeb Dunnuck awarding it an impressive 93 points. He predicts that this wine will continue to evolve and impress over the next 10-12 years. Vinous also bestowed a score of 93, noting the wine's open-knit and inviting nature. Antonio Galloni describes it as a classy and polished wine, a true testament to Melville's dedication to producing exceptional Chardonnays.

The 2018 Melville Chardonnay Estate Santa Rita Hills is a wine that truly stands out among its peers. Its soft nose of white peaches, quince, and delicate notes of baker's yeast, beeswax, and chamomile create a captivating sensory experience. The medium-bodied palate is round and silky, with a lovely dichotomy of tangy uplift and perfumed fruits. The finish is long and layered, leaving a lasting impression on the palate.

This Chardonnay from Melville continues the winery's legacy of crafting exceptional wines that defy expectations. With only 1,048 cases produced, this is a wine that connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike should not miss. Whether enjoyed now or cellared for future indulgence, the 2018 Melville Chardonnay Estate Santa Rita Hills is a wine that will leave a lasting impression on all who have the pleasure of experiencing it.