Melville Donna's Syrah 2016
Dark magenta in color, with rich and savory aromatics of beef tartare, teriyaki, cocoa powder, and dried nori are immediately apparent. With time, lifted nuances of white peppercorns, ginger, fennel and salt water taffy emerge. The palate presence is juicy and concentrated, with mouthwatering ripe tannins and excellent purity along with a vibrant streak of acidity that anchors the wine’s voluptuous and elongated finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The sand at Donna’s Block is 20 feet deep, well drained and lacking much in terms of nutrients for the vines. Chad Melville ferments the grapes from those vines entirely as whole clusters, then ages the wine for a year in neutral French oak. The result is a wine with intensity and length of flavor, rather than any excess weight. It smells coastal, like beach roses in a sand dune, and it feels as curvaceous as a dune, salty, spicy, floral and shaped by the wind. The flavors are delicious and remarkably long.
There is no place on earth quite like the Sta. Rita Hills. The highly unusual east-west (or transverse) mountain range, close proximity to the cold Pacific, consistent coastal fog, and steady afternoon breezes together create ideal conditions for growing cold-climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Ron Melville and his sons recognized that these exceptional conditions, combined with their commitment to “winegrowing,” would result in wines of remarkable quality. Melville Vineyards was established in 1996 in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills and has since become one of the most highly-regarded estates in California.
With the guidance of Head Winegrower, Chad Melville, Melville’s full-time vineyard crew nurtures their 120 estate acres organically, paying close attention to the health of both the vines and the soil. Farming aggressively, yet carefully, and with the utmost respect to Mother Nature, helps encourage the vines to produce small amounts of intensely flavored/concentrated fruit. At the time of harvest, they consider the wines to already be made, and strive to not interfere with their natural path in the cellar. To this effect, they maintain a minimalist approach by aging their wines only in neutral French oak and stainless steel and utilize whole cluster fermentation to contribute to the depth, structure, and complexity of their wines.
A superior source of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, westernmost sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation within Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.
The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot noir, thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil. Here, grapes ripen just enough, while retaining brisk acidity and harmonious balance.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”