The fruit for this wine comes exclusively from Melville’s Sta. Rita Hills estate and is a combination of two different Syrah clones (Estrella and Clone 99). The Estrella is from Donna’s block which is planted on well-drained, nutrient-deficient sand. The neutrality of that soil always lends an intoxicating, high-toned bouquet of flowers and spice while the Clone 99 from Block I is planted on denser sandy-loam soil, bringing depth and richness.
70% of the fruit is gently de-stemmed with 30% remaining as whole clusters. It’s all fermented in small 1.5 ton open top fermenters. Total skin and stem contact average 30 days (7 day cold soak, 2+ weeks fermentation, and 1+ week extended maceration). From the press, the wine is transferred directly to neutral barrels (5-20 year old French oak) where it remains sur lie with no sulfur until May, when it is gently pressure racked for the first time and prepared for bottling in August.
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.