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.
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.
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "The 2016 Syrah Donna's is a slightly toned-down version of this cuvee yet still offers fabulous notes of bacon fat, violets, beef blood, crushed pepper, and huge salty minerality, all of which is grounded by a terrific core of dark fruit. Deep, medium to full-bodied, rounded, and sexy on the palate, it has a singular character as well as 10-15 years of prime drinking."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "Melville's 2016 Syrah Estate Donna's is perfumed and savory, with the influence of the 100% whole clusters very much in the foreground, something that was much less the case when the wine was in barrel. Wild flowers, sage, mint, thyme and a host of blue/purplish berry fruit meld together effortlessly. All the elements are simply in the right place. This is another gorgeous wine from Melville. "
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92+ POINTS - "The recently bottled 2016 Syrah Donna's grows in pure sand and was vinified with 100% whole bunches, wafting from the glass with a dramatic bouquet of blackberry, lilac, tea leaf and citrus rind. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, expansive and open-knit, with fine-grained, saline stem tannins and a lingering finish. This needs some time to come together after bottling, but it's a promising Syrah from Melville."
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."