2011 Melville "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1136365 92 points 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.  (12/ 2013)

91 points 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!  (8/ 2013)

Antonio Galloni

 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.  (7/ 2013)

Wine Enthusiast

 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.  (4/ 2013)

Wine Spectator

 Marked by a notable licorice edge, with subtle fresh earth, ripe plum and black cherry notes, ending on the delicate side. Drink now through 2018. (Web Only- 2013)

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Price: $30.99

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Additional Information:

Varietal:

Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.
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 (%): 14.5