Head west out Highway 246 toward Lompoc and discover the Santa Rita Hills appellation, one of the newest and fastest-growing AVAs in Santa Barbara County. Home to over 59 vineyards with more than 2,000 acres planted in Pinot Noir, 500 acres of Chardonnay, and over 140 acres planted in Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and other cool climate varietals.
One of Santa Rita Hills’ crowning jewels is Melville Vineyards and Winery, a beautifully appointed Mediterranean-style winery that exclusively produces 100% estate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. The unique microclimate of the Santa Rita Hills AVA is characterized by the cool temperatures, coastal winds and early morning fog, and is perfectly suited to growing these Burgundian grape varietals.
Melville Vineyards and Winery is family run by Ron Melville and his sons Chad and Brent. The tasting room is upscale and inviting with friendly servers eager to serve the featured estate wines. The 2012 Estate Chardonnay is delightful ~ bright and aromatic with orange zest, honeydew, and lemon verbena. Even more exotic is the 2012 Estate Viognier, Verna’s which was rated 90 points by Robert Parker. Kiwi, tangerine, green papaya and lime blossom greet the nose with this ideal Summer drinking gem.
Melville Vineyards and Winery‘s flagship wine is the 2012 Estate Pinot Noir, a collection of 16 Pinot Noir clones. Fresh aromatics of mandarin orange, black raspberry and watermelon spring from the glass. Floral and herbal notes of rose petal and gardenia, sandalwood and thyme, lend to a velvety and plush finish. The 2011 Estate Syrah, Verna’s is spectacular, earning 92 points from Robert Parker. Composed of seven different clones and aged in 10-year-old French oak barrels, this Syrah displays white pepper and anise with whiffs of pipe tobacco and dark chocolate.
Plenty of outdoor seating and picnic grounds surround Melville Vineyards and Winery, providing a clandestine backdrop. For a special treat, inquire about the Vineyard to Bottle Tour and Tasting. www.melvillevineyards.com