Melbury

Melbury Label

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MELBURY originates from a spectacular property on the slopes north of Lake Hennessey, in the hills east of Rutherford.

Melbury Label

The name Melbury is in homage to an historic area in London, where the estate owners reside much of the year. Since its debut with the 1999 vintage, the consistent hallmarks of Melbury have been plush red fruits (currants, bing cherries), redolent with spice and the scent of violets. Elegance and a supple texture define the structure of this wine. The particular exposition of this rocky 7-acre hillside vineyard is southerly overlooking Lake Hennessey, allowing the vines to capture the morning sun yet moderating afternoon temperatures.

SOIL: Ancient sedimentary soil with compressed clay. Eastern and Southeastern Exposure.

ELEVATION: 348-522 feet


Vintage Notes

2017

Melbury
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Budbreak was delayed until the end of April due to early spring rains. This shift in timing helped the vineyard weather the summer heat, and as fall approached it looked to be a promising year for this site. Harvest began on September 27th and fortunately we were able to harvest the key components of Melbury before the wildfires broke out.

The nose contains all of the classic red fruit intermixed, as well as fresh violets and baking spice. As is often the case, the mineral facet of Melbury is felt as a salty tinge within its rich velvet layers. The vintage uniquely highlights the gravity that this wine has and demonstrates an almost endless depth. As the wine lingers it embraces the emotional nature of this vintage with a calm reflection.

2016

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Budbreak began on March 30th; cool temperatures allowed early growth to develop slowly. The fruit set was lower than normal but resulted in beautiful, loose clusters. The upper slopes were harvested in the early part of September, followed by morning fog, which elongated ripening for the remaining vines.

The generous spirit of Melbury reminds us of a jovial companion who enlivens an intimate dining table. This year, our friend delivers a more pensive charm than in years past. A touch of cardamom and hints of red fruit rouse an otherwise brooding nose. While the classic velvety texture is present, there is a gentle resistance on the tannins—a palpable reminder of the clay rich soils of this site.

2015

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An early budbreak on March 19th was followed by a cool spring that reduced fruit-set, and therefore yield. Summer’s heat was a constant threat until the grapes were picked. Harvest began on September 18th, and ultimately comprised 16 harvest passes over the course of two weeks.

Sweet spice and black cherry are just some of the aromatic highlights of this provocative example of Melbury. The wines’ ubiquitous charm is demonstrated by velvety layers of ripe red fruits and a soft mineral tinge. The wine holds forth on the front of the palate with a volume filling richness that slowly contracts into a long and inexplicably fine finish.

2014

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Maturation was slow and deliberate this season. Harvest was spread out over almost 31 days and 16 individual selections. Beginning in the upper part of the slope and proceeding down the vineyard. Fermentation was carried out, almost exclusively, in small French oak barrels, which allowed us to pick each lot at the ideal moment.

Melbury instantly transports one to the winter season with spice notes mixed with cherries and currants. The wine is round and velvety on entry, finding its rightful home on the front of the palate. An ephemeral saltiness touches the tongue as the wine’s resonance remains spherical.

2013

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Anticipating a warm growing season, we pruned the vines very late in order to delay budbreak. This allowed the vineyard to ripen later in the season, in the cooler part of fall. Regardless, this wine is proudly a product of the vintage as the skins were extremely thick, resulting in more structure and power than usual.

This primal Melbury has aromas of fresh cassis coupled with baking spices. It is classically spherical on the palate, with minerality manifesting itself as a salty sweetness along the edges of the tongue. The tannins are dense, imposing more muscle than softness at this early date. The 2013 still possesses classic Melbury charm, with a velvet-textured finish that is fine and powder-like.

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