2013 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Santa Barbara County Viognier

SKU #1182871 91 points Vinous

 Bright yellow. High-pitched aromas of tangerine, peach and white flowers, with a stony accent gaining strength with air. Bright and racy on the palate, with juicy acidity lifting and intensifying the flavors of white peach and fresh citrus fruits. Finishes with an appealingly light touch, lingering minerality and strong persistence. Quiet elegant for the variety, especially for a New World rendition. According to Chad Melville, his family recently sold their Verna's vineyard, north of Los Alamos and in the Santa Barbara County appellation, because they want to focus completely on their estate vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. Melville explained that "it just makes more sense to be self-contained, and while Verna's is a great vineyard, it seems removed from our other sites," all of which surround the Melville winery on Highway 246 in the sweet spot between Buellton and Lompoc. The pricing for entry-level wines here has always been a gift by design, Chad's father Ron said, because the Melvilles "want as many people as possible to be able to try the wines." Maybe they'll be inspired to check out the higher-end, single-vineyard wines, he reasons, "but [we] don't want to make people start off at that level." (JR)  (12/2014)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2013 Viognier Estate Verna’s is another outstanding effort from Greg that also represents a smoking value. Giving up classic apricot, pineapple and loads of floral qualities (almost a flower oil-like quality) to go with a medium-bodied, unctuously textured, yet still surprisingly fresh and focused style on the palate. Aged 6 months in neutral oak, it’s an impressive Viognier to enjoy over the coming year or two. Hold onto your hats, as these latest releases from Chad Melville and winemaker Greg Brewer are off-the-charts good! While both of the Chardonnays are beautiful, and play in the clean, crisp and medium-bodied spectrum, it’s the 2012 Pinot Noirs and Syrahs that are incredible across the board. The Pinot Noirs all see varying degrees of whole cluster and are aged completely in neutral French oak barrels. The Syrahs see slightly less whole cluster inclusion, but are also aged all in neutral French oak. In case you missed the prices/scores listed above, these are some of the greatest values in the world of wine today! (JD)  (8/2014)

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Additional Information:

Varietal:

Viognier

- Relatively challenging to cultivate, this white grape's plantings were long limited to two appellations in the Northern Rhône - Condrieu, the better known of the two, and Château-Grillet - but its recent gains in popularity inspired plantings in the Languedoc-Roussillon, across California, as well as in parts of Australia, Italy, Spain and South America. Intensely aromatic and full-bodied, Viognier is prized for its aromas and flavors of stone fruits, d'Anjou pears and white flowers. In fact, its heady perfume wins it the honor of being a rare white varietal used in one of the world's top reds - Côte-Rôtie - where it is often planted amid the Syrah and co-fermented with that grape. The combination deepens the color of Côte-Rôtie and adds to its already deep and distinctive nose.
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 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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14