Melville Winery Tasting Notes
At two different points along the trip, I got the opportunity to be at Melville Winery. The first was with the group visit and tasting, and the second was as an overnight guest.
I am going to combine my tasting notes for these two visits so not to be repetitive.
First, I would like to thank both Chad Melville and Kurt Ammann for hosting me, as well as driving me to the shuttle bus at 5:30am. Kurt gave me a run through of current vintages on my overnight visit, while Chad lead the group tasting the previous day. I am going to cover the current vintages first as these are probably more relevant for community interests as they would be what one might buy or sell right now. The barrel samples and older vintages are certainly important for a perspective on what the wine-making philosophy and style are, and the clonal and soil samples are simply for great personal knowledge.
First a couple of bullet points:
Current Release Notes:
Melville Estate Chardonnay INOX, Sta. Rita Hills, 2015
3 Part Tasting Exercise with Chad Melville
Flight 1 - Soil Experiment
Basically they have three soil types displayed on the table for us too see, feel, and smell, and the point of this flight was to show purely what the influence of soil is on the wine when all other aspects of wine-making are the same. We had three barrel samples, each made exactly the same, from the same block, clone and whole cluster inclusion level.
There is a lot of debate among "Stem-Heads" on how much whole clusters and stems to include in the fermentation process. Basically this is where the three of what I call "umbrella components" are influenced - color, aroma and texture. Chad offered us three barrel samples, each made exactly the same with the exception of the level of whole-clusters included.
To note - typically the Estate PN has about 40% inclusion, but the small block wines will have 80-100%. Looking for aromatics, lift and texture...
Flight 3 - Aging Exploration through the eyes of Chardonnay
Here it was pretty simple - three vintages of Chardonnay to see how the impact of the winemaking process can help to extend the life of cool-climate wines. Remember, no ML means more acid, which typically means better age-ability - sorry all you overly sweet, oaky, full-ML Chards - you have no life.
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