2020 Melville Winery, Pinot Noir, Terraces, Sta. Rita Hills.
One of real bright spots of the 2020 vintage has to be the estate bottlings from Chad Melville, especially the Block M and this Terraces Pinot Noir, which is wonderfully ripe and exceptionally well balanced with beautifully unfolding layers of black raspberry, cherry, plum and pomegranate fruits, all nicely accented by sweet florals, brambly spices, a touch of wood vanilla, mineral and Mission fig. This is serious stuff and utterly delicious Pinot that that packs pleasing concentration and supple tannin on the medium/full palate, but has lively acidity and structure, that should really serve it well for many many years to come. Melville explains that, the Terraces block, which sits on a steep terraced hillside, hence the name, with each individual row here getting a direct hit of cold air from the Pacific Ocean, that makes this 4.9 acre parcel distinct and intense. With air and time in the glass this dark ruby Terraces Pinot really turns on the charm and opulence adding a fine silkiness, length and an extra dimension of flavors with cranberry, blueberry, cinnamon, a hint of earth and candied orange rind floating in the background.
Melville really nailed these 2020 Pinots and this Terraces is stunning stuff that saw a 60% whole-cluster fermentation and a lengthy extraction and maceration with a gentle handling of the grapes, which were hand tended and harvested, after which the wine was pressed to neutral French oak barrels, with some of the barriques being close to fifteen years old, where it rested for 18 months before bottling. The Terraces block, that was planted in 1997, is set on clay-rich loam and calcareous shale soils at Melville’s Sta. Rita Hills estate that is in close proximity to the ocean and has a unique mix of Pinot clones, including Swan, Mount Eden, 115, 667 and 777, all of which plays roles in this wine’s complexity, grip and impact. That said there is generous nature to this vintage that makes it incredibly compelling bottle of wine, it thrills the senses and is wonderful with a full meal. I’ve long been a fan of these Melville wines and it is good to see these latest releases live up to and or exceed my expectations, with the regular estate Syrah being a huge favorite, along with their mentioned Block M Pinot, which I recently reviewed, impressing me greatly, as does this latest Terraces. I this selection of Melville’s collection are some of their best efforts to date and I highly recommend not missing them.
($70 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive