Hug Cellar’s wines are wines that are truly “made in the vineyard”. Handcrafted cultivation by these dedicated growers, and gentle winemaking in the cellar, produce wines that are rich and intense in their aromas, textures and flavors. There is very little manipulation in the small lot winemaking at Hug Cellars. We utilize whole cluster and indigenous yeasts in our fermentations. This fosters wines that reflect the pure expression of these unique vineyards.
The fruit for this wine comes exclusively from Melville's Sta. Rita Hills estate and is a combination of two different Syrah clones (Estrella and Clone 99). The Estrella is from Donna's block which is planted on well drained, nutrient deficient sand. The neutrality of this soil always lends an intoxicating and high toned bouquet of flowers and spice while the Clone 99 from Block I is planted on denser sandy loam soil, bringing depth and richness to the resultant wine. 60% of the fruit was gently de-stemmed with 40% remaining as whole clusters and was fermented in small 1.5 ton open top fermenters.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2016s are the first wines Chad Melville made at his family's estate after taking over from Greg Brewer. I thought the 2016s were promising when I tasted them from barrel last year. The bottled wines are every bit as impressive."
"The 2016 Syrah Estate (Sta. Rita Hills) is fresh, nuanced and distinctive. There is an element of freshness and vivacity to the 2016 that is incredibly appealing. Blueberry, lavender, violet, spice and mint notes are nicely lifted in this precise, strikingly beautiful Syrah from Melville. The 40% whole clusters are felt, but also nicely integrated within the wine's fabric."
Named for Ron Melville's wife, Donna's block is planted atop twenty feet of sand in the northeast section of Melville's vineyard and is composed of two-thirds clone 1 and one-third Estrella clone. Fermented as 100% whole clusters and aged in neutral barrel, this wine provides vividly enhanced aromatics and structure making it demonstrative of the extremely cool climate of the site on which it is grown.
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "Just bottled, the 2017 Syrah Donna's is simply fabulous. The 2017 is remarkable for many reasons, most notably its translucent sense of elegance and finesse. The 100% whole clusters are impeccably balanced. This sandy site yields a Syrah built on aromatic nuance and finesse. Hints of lavender, sage and mint open up in the glass, but the 2017 needs time to be at its very best. Even so, it is super-impressive today."
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "Always from the same parcel of vines in the estate vineyard, the 2017 Syrah Estate Donna's was not destemmed and was brought up in neutral oak. It offers a wonderful bouquet of blackberries, plums, curing spices, olives, lavender, and violets. It's not the biggest, richest example of this cuvée, but it's still full-bodied and has a terrific sense of purity, a sexy texture, and a great finish. Enjoy this textbook Sta. Rita Hills Syrah over the coming decade or more."
Zotovich Cellars is a family owned and operated boutique winery located in coastal Lompoc, California. Winemaker, Ryan Zotovich is coming most recently from Sea Smoke where he began working with Kris Curran. Prior to working at Sea Smoke, Ryan was the assistant winemaker at Palmina. With Ryan’s help, Zotovich Cellars is proud to offer small, closely monitored lots of estate wine. 100% of the grapes crushed into Zotovich wine are grown on the 35 acre Zotovich estate vineyard located off of Route 246, between Melville and Foley wineries.
JEB DUNNUCK 90 POINTS - "The 2015 Syrah Zotovich Estate incorporates 4% Viognier, was completely destemmed and spent 18 months in 20% new French oak. It offers plenty of black cherry, toasty oak and smoked earth in a fresh, focused, youthful style. Give it a few years to let some of its oak integrate and drink bottles through 2025."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "This is a strong set of releases from Zotovich. After a few years of back and forth, Zotovich seems to have settled on a style that works well for the site and their wines. The wines are consistent from top to bottom."
"The 2017 Viognier is done in a bright, floral style that emphasizes freshness. Jasmine and apricot notes are nicely delineated throughout. Light on its feet and impeccably balanced, the 2017 offers quite a bit of character and personality."