2011 Melville "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright red. Assertive aromas of raspberry, cherry and candied rose, with suave Asian spice and mineral accents building with air. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering sappy red fruit preserve flavors and a hint of star anise. Shows impressive energy and clarity on the long finish, featuring a zesty blood orange nuance.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Looking at the reds, the 2011 Pinot Noir Estate, which saw 40% whole clusters in fermentation, offers up a translucent ruby color as well as a complex, savory bouquet of currants, black cherries, stem, pepper, smoke and a gun flint-like minerality. Aged all in neutral barrels, this medium-bodied, supple 2011 has good ripeness, a light, clean texture and solid length on the finish. While there’s not a huge amount of depth here, I love the overall balance and it is downright fun to drink. Enjoy it over the coming 3-4 years. Drink now-2017. Winemaker Greg Brewer and grower Chad Melville continue to knock it out of the park with these Melville releases. Focusing on site, if not plot, specific releases, neutral oak, no SO2 until racking and varying degrees of whole cluster are the norm here. The wines have individual characters and, stylistically, lean toward the more complex, finesse-driven side of the spectrum. They “wow” more for their balance and nuance than their power and richness. They also remain reasonably priced!
High-toned floral notes meld into sweet dried red cherries, herbs, mint and tobacco in the 2011 Pinot Noir Estate. An attractive, mid-weight wine, the 2011 is a bit ethereal at times, but very pretty just the same. Winemaker Greg Brewer used 25% whole clusters in 2011, a little less than normal. Drinking window: 2013 - 2014 Like most of their neighbors, Melville suffered the devastating effects of a spring frost that reduced yields by a whopping 50%. According to long-time winemaker Greg Brewer, the frost turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as a normal crop would have never ripened under the cool conditions that followed for the rest of the growing season. The harvest started in mid-September and was largely done by the end of October, with the exception of the Syrah, which was picked on December 1, a very wide picking window by any standard. Conditions were far more normal in 2012, a year Brewer compares to 2007.
This shows the elegance of Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Dry and crisp in acidity, it has complex layers of sour cherry candy, white pepper and sandalwood, plus a touch of green herb. It evolves as it airs in the glass.