on with our local themed dinners, we sat down with Ron
Melville and Stephen Janes from Melville Winery at Antonello's
Ristorante in Orange County to explore some Pinots.
Focaccia di Recca - Thin Focaccia Bread filled with Mozzarella and Cresceza cheeses
Miniature Caprese - Toasted bread topped with Sliced Tomato, Bufula Mozzarella, little Oregano, Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
SRH Pinot Noir Vertical
- 2006 Melville Viognier Estate Verna's - Santa Barbara County
A nice little wine, with notes of white peach and perhaps apricot, with a light citrusy hint. Very good balance and finish. Surprisingly high alcohol (15+%), but it's not noticable in nose or mouth.
Salmon alla Erbe - Fresh Salmon grilled with Garlic, Rosemary, Sage, Parsley, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and touch of Lemon
Terraces Pinot Noir Vertical
- 2000 Melville Pinot Noir Estate - Santa Rita Hills
Nose of dark cherry, forest floor, Xmas spice and a hint of mushroom. Slight brightness on the palate, with a beautiful meld of citrus-infused forest scents and spice. Great mouthfeel and finish. WOTF.
- 2001 Melville Pinot Noir Estate - Santa Rita Hills
Big nose - dense, jammy and heady with notes of black cherry, rhubarb, and a hint of citrus. The huge dark fruit is very upfront and won't be mistaken for something from RRV, but it all comes together nicely at mid-palate, with a lovely long finish. My #2 in the flight.
- 2003 Melville Pinot Noir Estate - Santa Rita Hills
Nose of anise-infused dark fruit - similar to the '01, but less so. Initial mouthfeel and flavors seem a bit too sweet for me, but this seems to even out about mid-palate, and the wine finishes nicely.
- 2006 Melville Pinot Noir Estate - Santa Rita Hills
Somewhat lighter, yet lusher with a nice ripeness and some perfume notes, along with cherry, black cherry, and a touch of earth and toast. Bit soft on the palate, with a nice sense of dark fruit and a good finish. Barely squeeks by the '03 for my 3rd in the flight.
Spezzatino - Franco's mother in law recipe: Vegetable, Potato, Tomato Beef Stew
Carrie's Pinot Noir Vertical
- 2002 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces - Santa Rita Hills
Beautiful concentration of fruit throughout, with striking nose of dark cherry, and touches of toast, spice, and a light charcuterie scent. Lovely flavors and balance, and long seamless finish. WOTF.
- 2003 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces - Santa Rita Hills
Big, dense dark spicy cherry nose, with just a trace of heat. Sappy and sweet on the palate, very persistent and chewy, but its denseness almost overwhelms any nuance.
- 2004 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces - Santa Rita Hills
Dark ripe fruit, with some light burnished – even faintly sweet tomato notes, and bit of stem still apparent in the nose. Nice mouthfeel overall, good fruit, seems quite balanced. Frankly, the nose had me intrigued, but the mouthfeel didn’t quite match it.
- 2005 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces - Santa Rita Hills
Very nice mix of red and black fruit in the nose, with somewhat reticent notes of toast, spice and herb. Bit sweet in mouthfeel initially, but nice juicy acids seem to pick up about mid-palate and the wine finishes luxuriously. My #2 of the flight.
- 2006 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces - Santa Rita Hills
Very nice effusive nose of ripe fruit and spice. Good-Very Good on the palate, nice fruit and pretty good balance with touches of flint – almost a minerality, and even a bit of heat on the latter palate. Altogether, I liked the nose a little better than the mouth. My #3 of the flight.
Taglioline alla Bolognese - Homemade thin pasta prepared in a veal (ragu) sauce
Chardonnay: Inox and SRH
- 2001 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - Santa Rita Hills
Big heady nose, with juicy and spicy aromas. Chewy on the palate, slight sense of heat, but the juicy acids seem to balance things out very nicely. My #3 of the flight.
- 2002 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - Santa Rita Hills
Gorgeous nose of fruit, spice, floral scents and a bit of toast. Seemed a cloying from front end to mid-palate, but picked up some weight and nice texture through the long finish. My #2 of the flight.
- 2003 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - Santa Rita Hills
Lovely nose of fruit, toasted herbs, and Xmas spice. Fabulous mouthfeel – just big enough, with ripe fruit, spice and juicy acids – almost mouthwatering. My WOTF.
- 2004 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - Santa Rita Hills
Heady and huge, this was the Baby Huey of the flight. Plenty of ripe chewy fruit, yet a bit too sweet and monolithic as well.
- 2005 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - Santa Rita Hills
More than any of the others in the flight, this one showed the whole cluster fermentation – and I mean that in a good way. Plenty of dark fruit, nice ripeness and spice throughout, and very, very long finish.
- 2006 Melville Pinot Noir Carrie's - Santa Rita Hills
Understated and elegant in the nose, this seemed far more…well, mature in presence. It’s obviously too early to tell, but this just might represent a directional change – intended or otherwise.
Polpette di Garnchio - Homemade crab cake topped with a fresh mango sauce
Tonna Tartar - Ahi Tuna finely chopped seasoned with a touch of Mustard, Shallots, Lemon and topped with Micro Arugola
Pinot Noir: High Density and Clone 115 Indigene
- 2001 Melville Chardonnay Clone 76 Inox Estate - Santa Rita Hills
Really nice citrusy, crisp nose and mouth – almost Champagne-like! Juicy, excellent balance, very long seamless finish. Kudos here! My WOTF.
- 2001 Melville Chardonnay Estate - Santa Ynez Valley
Beautiful lemon-lime crème brulee nose, with just a hint of leesy aroma. Lovely balance, really nice fruit, good weight and complexity, delicious to drink. Yeah, I like Cream of Oak…no apologies here.
- 2003 Melville Chardonnay Clone 76 Inox Estate - Santa Rita Hills
Almost Chablis-like nose of stone, mineral, and a touch of chalk and lees. Crisp on the palate, flirting fruit, lovely balance and finish. I hope this is headed I the same direction as the ’01. My #3 of the flight.
- 2003 Melville Chardonnay Estate - Santa Ynez Valley
Very smoke-infused, ripe citrusy, and toasty nose. Ditto mouthfeel. This is the oak from down the street that your mother told you not to go out with. I like it that way…once in awhile.
- 2006 Melville Chardonnay Clone 76 Inox Estate - Santa Rita Hills
Fascinating! Huge tropical fruit mélange, with lemon and lime leading the way. Almost chewy, yet not; almost sweet, yet not, with interesting textures on the palate and a long silky yet crisp finish. My #2 of the flight.
Filetto di Cervo - Venison Loin topped with a wine must and truffle sauce
- 2001 Melville Pinot Noir High Density - Santa Rita Hills
Fleshy nose, with plenty of cherry, black cherry, spice, and that unmistakable sense of whole cluster fermentation. Very nice on the palate, with really nice fruit and balance. My #2 of the flight.
- 2001 Melville Pinot Noir Clone 115 Indigene - Santa Rita Hills
Not too dissimilar to the HD, this one had a bit more perfume and dried meat components in the nose – almost a more feminine rendition. Mouthfeel was more about the fruit – pure fruit. Delightful, but not as complex as the HD.
- 2003 Melville Pinot Noir High Density - Santa Rita Hills
Beautiful melding of aromas here, with dark fruit, dark spices and wet forest floor. Every time I came back to this wine it changed just a bit, accenting the spice, then the texture, then the fruit. Wonderful stuff! My WOTF, and probably the night.
- 2003 Melville Pinot Noir Clone 115 Indigene - Santa Rita Hills
This one seemed to be missing something that would have added to its complexity. It was okay on fruit, and balance, but just didn’t rise to the occasion – plus it seemed to pick up some heat on the back end.
- 2005 Melville Pinot Noir High Density - Santa Rita Hills
More to the red fruit spectrum, there was ample spice here, but I had the feeling that it was in Limbo trying to gain weight. Striking acids – balanced but obvious too. Good fruit profile… I think this is just in a weird place right now.
- 2005 Melville Pinot Noir Clone 115 Indigene - Santa Rita Hills
Big and sweet in both nose and mouth, this version seems better to my palate than the ’03 model.
Tartufo - Chocolate Truffle, White Chocolate truffle, Mixed Berries and Nuts and Strawberry dipped in Chocolate