2011 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Santa Barbara County Syrah

SKU #1115547 92 points 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!  (8/ 2013)

89 points Wine Enthusiast

 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.  (4/ 2013)

K&L Notes

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."

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Price: $19.99

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By: Sarah Covey |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 3/26/2013  | Send Email
30% whole cluster fermentation is evident here- a perfumey, lavender, blackberry nose, with white pepper, blueberry, and an interesting asphalty/tar note. Medium plus acidity and medium tannin. Aged in neutral barrel, this is a great example of cool climate Syrah.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Sants Inez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, chardonnay and pinot noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14