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.