Chad Melville works in the western hills of the Santa Ynez Valley; a paradoxical landscape of exceptional cool temperatures - despite being less than 150 miles from Los Angeles! This is down to it's unusual east-west orientation which funnels the cool Pacific winds down the length of the valley. These conditions create incredibly sunny vineyards with every hint of moisture pulled from the surface of the grapes by the wind. The intense concentration, brilliant flavour and harsh, stressful environment creates some of the finest Pinot, Chardonnay and Syrah around.
The history of the estate starts in 1989 when grape grower Ron Melville upped sticks and moved from Knight’s Valley in Sonoma down to this property in Santa Ynez. Nowadays run by Ron and his sons Chad & Brent, Chad has taken over most of the winemaking duties. Chad’s philosophy is quite simple – “At the time of harvest, we consider the wines to already be made and strive not to interfere with their natural path.” In other words, oaking is neutral, wines should reflect their vintage and what results in clean, clear, fruit-driven wines. Magnificent. "The 2019 Syrah Donna's Block comes from Estrella clone vines planted in pure sandy soils and was made entirely with whole clusters. Medium ruby-purple, it has a detailed perfume of blue and black berries, licorice, cast iron and wafts of mint chocolate and tapenade. Fresh, medium-bodied and lacy, the elegant palate offers savory fruits and a long, uplifted finish." Erin Brooks in the Wine Advocate, 95+ Points, 2022-2037