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.
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.