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Melville to the Rescue
filed under: Regional Spotlight,

His name's not Jim, but Melville winemaker Greg Brewer is about as dandy as they come. I met Greg and his colleague Stephen Janes (pictured, on my left and right, respectively) while at San Francisco's annual gathering of Pinot-philes, better known as Pinot Fest. The three hour tasting featured more than 40 producers of the absolutely fabulous stuff and included, besides Melville, such well known names as Flowers, Marcassin, Domaine Drouhin, and Etude.

Greg and Stephen were the most hip of all the wine folks at PinotFest, and I thoroughly enjoyed tasting and chatting with them. It helps that Greg is a good friend of my buddy David Rosoff, Los Angeles wine personality extraordinaire and general bon vivant (who has, unfortunately, left us a for a short time to perform his wine magic in Manhattan). Any friend of David's tends to be similarly vinously inclined and colorful, and I was extremely pleased to find Greg and Stephen to be just that.

Besides having a cool winemaker, Melville's a pioneer of top-notch Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the western part of the promising Santa Ynez Valley. They believe in Burgundian style wines (cheers to that) and specialize in reserve wines that express the character of the particular site on which they're grown - what many people call terroir. I love this quote from the Melville site, describing Greg's winemaking philosophy:

"We are consistently pushing ourselves and our vines by continually 'twisting the lens' of our light trying to eliminate any element of the vineyard which is either unnecessary or excessive...so we can harness the energy of the plant into a small quantity of fruit that will be the sole recipient of its soil and photosynthesis."

Wow. You go, Greg. It all sounds so...deep.

And so winemaking should be. Anything that can transport you in the way that a well made and unfettered with (read: un manipulated) wine from a great vineyard site can is absolutely worthy of such a descriptor. Bravo.

And by the way: Greg is also part owner and winemaker at Brewer-Clifton, another fabulous Santa Barbara-area producer of Pinot and Chardonnay. It's not easy to come by this stuff, but when you do, snap it up. It won't disappoint.

Greg's winemaking philosophy:



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