Top Notch California Syrah

Posted on 11-10-2017

Author: Danny Rodriguez


2013 Melville Verna’s Estate Syrah with Pork Tenderloin
Melville Winery, in California’s  Santa Rita Hills appellation, has been producing luscious drink-now Syrah and Pinot Noir, which are a perfect complement to food. I was amazed and overjoyed as to the seamless pairing of Verna’s Syrah with a pork tenderloin. The excellence of the food and wine pairing proved that their productions beautifully suit any restaurants wine list. The wine showed its outstanding quality by serving as host to a perfectly presented food pairing. Their winemaking philosophy brought this food pairing to life.


The Syrah is a specific Estate sourcing of fruit that translates beautifully in the glass. The look of the wine is deep and intense, with a clarity that is as pristine as the aromas that emanate from the glass. Hints of fall baking spices and black tea are so well integrated that the aroma of the wine is a pleasure to behold. Before fermentation, a large percentage of the fruit is destemmed to eliminate any green vegetal characteristics. The use of neutral oak sets the wines of Melville Winery to be some of the best drink now wines in the country. Their wines do not suffer from the constraints of new French oak barrels in the aging process. What is presented is a wine of polish and balance.

The fruit of Verna’s Syrah is full and lush with notes of cherry and cranberry. The wine strikes a balance when young and the varietal character of Syrah shines through. Cool nights within the Estate property and the varietal character of the grape, serve to bring such a balance of acidity and tannin. The tannin was comfortable and not overdone, enabling all nuances of food and wine to burst upon the palate. The Syrah’s acidity broke down the tenderloin beautifully, which was cooked perfectly. 

A key to the pairing was the sour cherry and wine, balsamic reduction. It served as a bridge from wine to protein, as it possesses characteristics similar to those of the wine.  As sautéed carrots were brought to the mix, they brought another layer of richness and complexity. Garlic baked asparagus and potatoes rounded out the dish. The reaction of food and wine was an amazing educational experience for the palate and a true pleasure.  As the evening went on, the wine continued to blossom and continued to support every aspect of the dish. I soon found myself smiling from ear to ear thanks to the quality of the pairing.

The food and wine pairings were made possible due to a collaboration with the cooking talents of Jamie Morton. She did a fabulous job and I want to thank her for her skill. A huge thank you to the entire staff at Melville Vineyards and Winery. Enjoy all that food and wine has to give!