2014 Melville "Block M" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1241463 93 points Vinous

 The 2014 Pinot Noir Block M is the most structured and tightly wound of these wines. Dark red and purplish stone fruits, cherry pit and white pepper give the 2014 much of its high-toned personality. The 2014 offers lovely density and yet the whole clusters give the wine a sense of weightlessness that is hugely appealing. The 80% whole clusters are mostly felt in the wine's structure, but less in its flavor profile. It will be interesting to see how things develop at Melville now that Chad Melville has taken over winemaking from Greg Brewer. Melville has long run vineyard operations, but this is the first time in the estate's history that farming and winemaking are all managed by the same person. Melville keeps his cards close to the vest when it comes to what he is going to change in winemaking, but the 2015 Clone 76 gives some indication, as it is made in a style that is much less reductive than has been the case in the past. The Pinots (except the Indigène) and the Syrahs are made with a high percentage of whole clusters and are aged in neutral oak. (JR)  (6/2016)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Red currants, dried rose petals, cured meats and savory herbs all emerge from the 2014 Pinot Noir Block M, which is medium-bodied, elegant and supple on the palate, yet has a solid kick of savory tannin that gives me pause. There's lots of tannin here, and it needs 2-3 years of cellaring to come together. (JD)  (8/2016)

K&L Notes

According to Jeb Dunnuck writing for The Wine Advocate: "Greg Brewer is the genius behind these brilliant wines from the Sta. Rita Hills in California’s Santa Barbara County... They release a number of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs... Most see a healthy dose of stem inclusion, are fermented in stainless steel, and aged all in neutral French oak. This is one lineup where the different releases show distinct and individual characters, and are always a joy to taste through."

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Price: $59.99

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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. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- 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 (%): 15