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 2020 Chardonnay Estate has rich aromas of peaches, honey, chamomile and baker's yeast with gentle herbal tones. The palate offers bright freshness and nutty, honeyed fruits, and it finishes long and textural." Erin Brooks in the Wine Advocate, 93 Points, 2022-2032