In 1989, Melville Vineyards, a family owned and operated enterprise was founded in Sonoma County's Knights Valley, where Ron Melville grew high quality, much sought after Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In 1996, Ron's desire to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brought Melville Vineyards to Lompoc's Sta. Rita Hills, located in the western Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California.
The Sta. Rita Hills appellation is where Ron Melville and his sons Brent and Chad Melville decided to develop their estate vineyards and winery. Since then, they have also developed an interest in Rhone varietals, particularly Northern Rhone Syrah and Viognier. The Melville estate achieves quality through the integrity of its farming practice and its respect to the microclimate. The Melvilles believe that a fine wine begins in the terroir (teh-RWAHR) or microclimate of a vineyard. Terroir is the French term for soil. In the vineyard, it encompasses soil type and geographic factors which may influence the quality of wine. This is indicative of the Melvilles' decision to grow wine in the Sta. Rita Hills (AVA) appellation.
Learn More About Syrah/Shiraz
(seh-RAH/shee-RAHZ) It's a Smokin' Grape Syrah and Shiraz - same grape, different name. It's a popular and adept variety, growing in multiple regions and creating many different styles of wine.
The home base of Syrah is the Northern Rhone, where it creates the exclusive wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie. On the less pricy side, the Rhone makes Syrah-based wines in Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas and St. Joseph. Syrah made a big splash in Australia, where it's called Shiraz and reigns as the most planted grape of the country. Washington State, Southern and Central California, South Africa and South America are also making wines from Syrah that have substance and style.
Notable Facts Like many world-popular grapes, Syrah can differ in style depending on the climate, region and winemaking techniques. Typical aromas and flavors from most Syrah-based wines include pepper, blackberry and leather or smoke. Australian Shiraz and Central or Southern California Syrah tend to be more dense in fruit flavors, some even jammy - warmer climates lead to riper fruit flavors. Northern Rhone style typically shows more pepper and leather notes, with less upfront fruit. Washington State, South Africa and South America differ in style but usually show the range of Syrah flavors.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Rhone, Australia, California, Washington State, South Africa
Common Descriptors: pepper, blackberry, blueberry, jam, meat, smoke
Learn More About Central Coast, California
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.