Melville Pinot Noir Terraces 2013
|Jeb Dunnuck||94+||Drink: 2017 - 2025|
|Still slightly closed, with a focused, streamlined feel on the palate, the 2013 Pinot Noir Terraces offers a pretty and lively bouquet of sweet berry fruits, spring flowers, mint and sappy herbs. Medium-bodied, elegant and pretty, with a core of sweet fruit, it never really expands on the palate, but finished with superb length. Reminding me of a Solomon Hills release given its vibrant fruit profile, it certainly gives up plenty of pleasure, but it will benefit from a year or so in the cellar.
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.