Some aging Melville for fun

Want to thank @brigcampbell and Paul for arraying these out yesterday. We tasted them in sequence, and then we explored them over pizza and salad for the rest of the evening.

Melville was a place I spent a lot of time in the past, and in looking at Cellartracker, I was even surprised as I have about 125 tasting notes across the years of their wines. Way back to 2005 when I was writing up the 2001 Clone 125 Indigene, with some of you maybe remembering that cuvee, too. Lots of dinners there, and even I remember a decade plus ago we had them down, when Stephen Janes was their sales leader. We did a bunch of library wines that night at Antonello, and some of you reading this post may have been there that night with us. Anyway, great people, and all the way to the point of my daughter getting married in the vineyard back in May 2008, and the reception in dinner at the winery. Was a helluva day.

Some notes from yesterday, and maybe Brig will post some, too. He and I were the only WB dorks doing the wines last night.

A FUN LOOK AT SOME MELVILLE WITH AGE - At Paul's Place (5/11/2024)

  • 2008 Melville Chardonnay Estate Verna's - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    For my taste, this has held up well. Initially the profile was one that was kinda smoky and reduced in the aroma. Some of that abated with air but it enough remained around to add a unique element. Lots of lemon in the palate, reminding me of Kutch Trout Gulch. With air and the chill fading from the wine, the texture became more glossy, with the lemon moving to a lemon oil expression. The finish? A lot of spicy ginger, sour green apple and an essence of butter. Not buttery oak but like a warmed note. For a 15 year old Chardonnay, this is hanging right in there and aging wonderfully.
  • 2022 Melville Chardonnay Estate - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    We poured this next to the 2008 Melville Verna's, which I preferred. Yeah, kinda stark in contrast to compare wines 15 years apart in age, but the exercise was fun. Initially, the 2022 reminded me of something that was working to fit nicely into the Chablis space. The wine had a whiff of sea breeze that I really liked. And the palate has a savory citrus quality, infused with a kumquat. Like the 2008 Verna's this too is spicy, and in the chablisienne profile, a minerality I liked. My one dislike is the bitterness on the finish, a cirrus peel expression that takes the wine of out balance.
  • 2005 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    Opened at Noon, served at 5PM. This may have been the wine we served at my daughter's wedding back in 2008 when she was married at Melville. We served Terraces and Carrie's that day in the reception/dinner. Man, at getting close to 20 years old, this is still drinking great. Touch stemmy with metal shavings in the aroma. The palate has a tarry/menthol note, I suspect from the whole cluster these were made with by Greg Brewer at the time. There is a fresh cinnamon stick note, too. Spicy, with tart cherry, and what Brig called 'Chambord' which was spot on. There is some astringence in the finish which I bet never leaves the wine, but it's fine. This is still a terrific Pinot Noir and doesn't seem to be fading.
  • 2010 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    Tasted alongside the 2005 Melville Terraces, and that wine is far better for my palate than this 2010. To be fair, some at the dinner last night liked the 2010 better, whereas I did not. To me the 2010 is fluffier, maybe even confected in tone for me. There is a light stewed note to the fruit, and even a little cherry tomato in the background. The alc seemed like it was sticking out too and I just don't think this is going to get any better with age.
  • 2012 Melville Pinot Noir Block M - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    Opened at Noon, started pouring it at 5PM. This is bang-on terrific. The expression here is complete, there is a polish and balance here that really fired me up. Red and blue fruit ones, with a cranberry that gives it a little edge, and a spiciness. Medium weight, juicy and fresh. Had several pours of this over the evening and it remained consistent. I'd say that this is in a very good place to enjoy, right in the apex of its age, and everything in harmony.
  • 2013 Melville Pinot Noir Block M - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    Opened at Noon, poured at 5PM alongside the 2012 Block M, which was for me the clearly better wine. The 2013 is more concentrated, the alcohol and ripeness creates an imbalance, too. Very spicy and just not to the class and impeccable balance of the 2012. I don't see this 2013 getting better either, as it's now passed a decade of age and the wine's components are not in harmony.

Posted from CellarTracker


Probably Clone 115. In addition to frequent releases of some of the major clones that show well on their own, they also had a program releasing three different Pinot Noir single clone wines a year. I think they planted 17 different Pinot Noir clones, some of them were replaced over the years so number is lower now. That was a period when people paid more attention to clones, so interesting to be able to taste a number of the less common clones.


I was able to do a tasting at Saintsbury where they allowed me to buy one of the single clone bottlings from the property. They were only a few cases of each, maybe 8-10 clones (possibly more on the property, was over 20 years ago), and they were purely for data points on how each clone evolved individually. Got a Pommard clone, think it’s the one that’s most planted so they had plenty extra. Folks can ooh and ahh about terroir for days on end but tasting clonal variation within a property have been the most eye opening learning experiences of my wine education.

That was fun!

I’ll get my notes on the Melville up tomorrow.

And the champagne too.

OLD MELVILLE - Paul and Ashely's House (5/13/2024)

Let’s open some old Melville wines and check in.

Bubbles for a Warmup

  • 2017 Bérêche et Fils Champagne Grand Cru Mailly - France, Champagne, Champagne Grand Cru
    Color shows some light skin contact. Faint pink. Berry and peachy notes. While this was excellent I get the feeling it’ll improve with cellar time. It has verve in the form of strong acid and mineral foundation. I like the salinity. Count your blessing if this is filling up your cellar.
  • NV Laherte Frères Champagne Rosé de Meunier Extra Brut - France, Champagne
    I love this one so much? Because I love rosé and especially when it’s back on the sweetness allowing the mineral and acid to share the spotlight. Red fruited and terrific.
  • NV Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Grande Réserve - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
    Such a great bottle of champagne at a reasonable price. A shocking this is the entry level because it can hang with the best of them. Contains lots of stone and tree fruit flavors, pick one, and it's in there. Beautiful balance.

    There was some TCA which Frank caught but hasn’t affected the flavors, just a bit of wet paper.

White Flight - Old and New

  • 2008 Melville Chardonnay Estate Verna's - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
    This is a deep yellow color. It’s not turning brown, but it’s clearly showing its age. I purchased three of these bottles at the winery just because it was so unique not often something with 15 years, especially in a Chardonnay from Santa Rita Hills is on the list. I want to share these with friends! Paul organize the Melville tasting so this is a perfect time. What’s surprising to me is that this one has the acid to hold it all together. It’s fairly heavy weighted and a little slick in the mouth. Persistent flinty note and the finish shows more of a light smoke or incense. Lemon curd flavor. I’m not sure how long these will last but I have a couple more and plan on consuming them over the next couple years.
  • 2022 Melville Chardonnay Estate - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    Bright golden yellow color. Strong aromas of lemon and fruit. Lots of fruit on the attack, lemon, pear and tropical notes. It has a spicy note running through it, which must be the neutral oak coming through? This was quite the contrast to the 2008 because it clearly was more useful.

Terraces versus Carrie’s

  • 2005 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    Color is faded plum. This has some heat on it, oh boy. This one is very spicy and the oak and stem are still hanging in there. Lots of raspberry and dried espresso. The finish reminds me of a good luxardo cherry old fashioned. Chambord liqueur comes to mind. I revisited a couple times, captured my interest.
  • 2010 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    This is very good color, a dark garnet and decent clarity. This is a ripe fruit foward style and more of a crowd pleaser. It’s surprisingly stemmy with a bit of a green note the right fruit covers that up. Acid seems to be weak and there’s a little smoke it to finish.

Block M Head to Head

  • 2012 Melville Pinot Noir Block M - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    Really nice wine. Color is holding up beautifully, a nice bright garnet. Smoky cherry flavors. And it really long, this great for pondering over.
  • 2013 Melville Pinot Noir Block M - USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
    I think all we agreed this one is out of balance. It’s just too much heat, it’s distracting. It has all the pieces but they just go in different directions. Stem, ripe raspberry. More heat at the finish.

Posted from CellarTracker

Ashley bought a vintage candy assortment for Keek’s birthday. That was fun digging through black cows, bit-o-honey and more. The Boston Baked Beans definitely miss Red Dye #5 from the good old days. LOL

Who doesn’t love candy cigarettes!


Great notes and thanks for a journey down memory lane. I still have some of the 05 Carries and 05 Terraces hanging around somewhere - will have to dig them out sooner rather than later.

A couple of random notes:

  1. The flinty, reductive quality that FMIII found on the nose of the 08 Chardonnay would be a ‘desired’ quality in white burgs, no?

  2. When revisiting these, I think it’s really important to think of the specific vintages for each of these wines and how they may have affecting them:

2005 was an ‘ideal’ vintage in SBC as mother nature allowed us to pick whenever we wanted - no major heat spikes, no overly cool periods during harvest, etc. It was also at a time when ‘ripeness’ was being explored and folks tended to pick later than they may have just a few years earlier

2010 was a very cool vintage in our area - though we did have a heat spike around Labor Day that prompted varieties like Pinot that were not heavily cropped to ripen quite quickly

2012 was a huge vintage for our area, and a wet one as well. The wines from that vintage, in general, were not as ‘intense’ as the vintages before and after but provided more ‘balanced’ wines

2013 was the first of 3 straight drought vintages, and one of the earliest vintages in our area. Sugar ripeness generally came on faster than physiological ripeness and that showed in early ripening varieties like Pinot.

The last note is about clones - I truly enjoyed what Melville used to do in their ‘Clonal Series’ release each year. Alas, we don’t see this happending with them or many others these days, which is a bummer. I was inspired by what they used to do to do my own clonal releases - and have done so with our 2020’s, our 2021’s and will be bottling our 2022 clonal releases soon. It’s a great way to understand the reasoning of why a vineyard may have separate clones planted and what each may add to a final blend . . .


I like it all the time. :sunglasses:

What’s interesting regarding the 2008 is the flint didn’t blow off, it was part of the package. It was on the palate too. Fun wine.

So it was reductive the entire time? Interesting . . .


Seemed so to me, too. I sometimes get this on Jamie Kutch’s chardonnays.

Older Melville Pinots show that it’s wrong to think a high alcohol Pinot will only get worse with age.

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I believe many feel the same about older Pax wines (1st iteration)

There are lots of things folks believe in theory that turn out not to be the case in reality.


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As I recall, Burghound used to be pretty dogmatic on this issue.

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I’ve tasted older Kosta Browne, they weren’t afraid to bring the ABV, which have held up nicely. Have had a few KB that fell apart.

A personal observation I’ll make regarding high ABV. It doesn’t seem to go away or integrate with age. A hot wine always seems to be hot in my drinking windows.

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Thanks for those notes. I’ve got some Anna’s, Rancho and Donna’s tucked away for longer term.