Melville Block M Pinot Noir 2013
|Jeb Dunnuck||95+||Drink: 2017 - 2025|
|A very complete, balanced red, the 2013 Pinot Noir Block M was just partially destemmed (20%) and aged 14 months in neutral oak. It has a darker slant to its fruit with lots of black cherry, licorice, pepper/stem and forest floor emerging from the glass. These flow to a rich, masculine Pinot that has brilliant mid-palate depth, a seamless texture and building tannin that emerges on the finish. Give it a year or two and enjoy bottles through 2025.
Greg Brewer is the genius behind these brilliant wines from the Sta. Rita Hills in California’s Santa Barbara County. I am continually blown away by what they are able to put in bottle, and if you factor in price, these are no-brainer purchases. Looking at their Chardonnays, they release two cuvees; the stainless-steel aged Clone 76 Inox - which is their top cuvee - and the Estate Verna’s (this site is located just north of the Sta. Rita Hills). The idea with the Inox release is the top grapes don’t need any makeup, hence it sees no wood whatsoever and is raised completely in stainless steel (Inox means stainless steel in French). Nevertheless, I always prefer the Verna’s Vineyard, which is barrel fermented and aged in neutral oak.
They release a number of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, which in 2013 were harvested between mid to late September and early October. 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.
Looking at their Syrahs, they release three cuvees; the largest production Verna’s vineyard from a site just north of the Sta. Rita Hills, the smaller production Estate release, and the most limited-production Donna’s which comes from a 4-acre block in their estate Melville vineyard.