2011 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Santa Barbara County Syrah
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Looking at the Syrah, the 2011 Syrah Verna’s is a supple, sexy effort that’s loaded with black cherry liqueur, blackberry, pepper, stem, bacon fat and assorted meatiness on the nose. Filling in beautifully on the palate, with a medium-bodied profile, this knockout, voluptuously textured effort has no hard edges, serious purity of fruit and ripe tannin that emerges through the finish. Taking the better part of a day to shine, this beauty should be given another 2-3 years of bottle age and consumed over the following 7-8 years. Drink 2015-2022. 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!
This Syrah shows just a touch of smokiness. It has vital acids and furry tannins that structure the cherry pie flavor. Great for drinking now if you’re looking for a medium-bodied selection.
Winemaker Greg Brewer believes that the most important work happens in the vineyard, and Melville's Syrah is made entirely from estate fruit from their ranch in Los Alamos. A good 40% of the grape clusters were fermented with their stems to impart characterisic Syrah structure and complexity before the wine was aged in neutral French oak for ten months. From the winery: "Immediately noticeable are warm components of roasted marshmallows, molasses, pipe tobacco and dark chocolate while aromas of magnolia, anise, white pepper and chicory float in the background. Deeper impressions of sweet bbq, saddle leather, beef carpaccio, balsamic and iodine also come forward. Texturally, the wine is velvety and streamlined, finishing with intense precision."