2006 Melville "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1033787 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Tart sweet and sour cherries, hints of strawberry jam, and lively acids characterize the 2006 Pinot Noir Estate. This wine is medium-bodied, fresh, lively, and very Cote du Beaune-like. (RP)  (12/2008)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep red. Exotically perfumed nose combines strawberry, raspberry, blood orange and Christmas spices. Sexy stuff, offering sweet red berry flavors, velvety texture and a suave array of Asian spices. The spiciness builds on the brisk, clinging finish. This was reportedly made with 50% whole clusters. (JR)  (11/2008)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 Here's a stylish, full-bodied and elegant wine that's a great exposition of Sta. Rita Hills. From low-yielding vines, the wine is layered and complex in currant, cherry, raspberry, carob, Asian spice and cedar flavors that are wrapped into a lush, silky texture.  (12/2008)

K&L Notes

This beautiful, inky-red Pinot Noir comes from Melville's Sta. Rita Hills estate and is comprised of 14 different Pinot clones. Delightfully aromatic, the nose is redolent of red currants, black raspberries and black cherries with hints of orange pekoe, mocha, thyme, clove and maple syrup. Slightly minerally on the palate, the fruit and spice continue with the addition of white flowers and sea breeze. Medium-bodied with velvety tannins, this well-balanced, nicely structured Pinot is elegant with good length.

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Price: $39.99
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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.

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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez 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.