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. (JD)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Inky ruby. Potent dark berry, Indian spices, minerals and black olive on the nose. Fat, juicy, gently sweet blackberry and cassis flavors are underscored by peppery spice and candied licorice qualities that gain energy with air. The smoke and dark fruit elements repeat on the youthfully tannic, spice-tinged finish: sweet, focused and long.
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."