2010 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Santa Barbara County Syrah
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(half of this fruit was picked at 23 degrees Brix on December 1st; vinified with 50% whole clusters): Dark ruby. Intense black raspberry, cherry and floral aromas are complicated by notes of cracked pepper and anise. Supple, sweet and elegant, showing excellent depth and a broad range of dark fruit and floral qualities. Silky and intensely fruity on the gently tannic finish, which leaves sexy floral and spice notes behind.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A delicate, finely knit fabric of aromas and flavors floats on the palate in the 2010 Syrah Estate Verna-s. Mint, plums and sweet herbs all meld together in this gracious, impeccable Syrah. The intensely perfumed, feminine finish has a sweet, almost-Pinot like register from the use of 50% whole clusters. Amazingly, in 2010 the harvest stretched into December 1. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018.
There are a lot of great things about Melville's "Verna's" Syrah--its silky texture, its luscious fruit--but they're all made even better by its always affordable price. (Who says you can't drink interesting wine without spending a fortune?) The 2010 vintage was 40% whole cluster aged in neutral oak, so there isn't an overwhelming amount of spice or stick vanilla to overpower the fruit. Instead you're treated to a glassful of blackberries, plums and figs accented by violets and a soy sauce-like umami component. Fresh and savory, food friendly but soft enough to drink on its own, this is a great Syrah to have on hand for everyday drinking.