Recent Blog Articles
- NorCal Wine Has Moved
- 'Tis the Season to be Zinful
- New Tasting Rooms & a Grand Opening in Lodi
- How You Can Contribute to Earthquake Relief in Napa
- A Tale of Two Conferences
- Cats and Dogs Blogging Together
- Getting the Wine Bloggers Conference We Deserve
- New White Wines and Rosés from Rutherford's Day in the Dust
- 6 More California Rhone Wines to Try at Rhone Rangers
- Lodi Zinfandel Goes Native
- Study: Researchers Discover New Taste
- He Wasn't Talking To You, Mr. Outrage
- 16 North Coast Rhones to Try and a Toothsome #WineChat
- Howell Mountain Spring Tasting Wrap Up
- Of Tasting Notes and Photographs
- Rhone Rangers Tastings and Rhone-Variety Wines Tasted
- More Thoughts on Blind vs. Non-Blind Tasting
- A Great Tasting on Balance
- How Critics Taste Wines - On Blind Tasting
- On "Unexpected Napa Valley Wines"
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2010 Moone-Tsai Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2009 Hawk and Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2010 Skinner Vineyards Estate Mourvedre, El Dorado
- 2012 Masut Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Mendocino County
- 2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
NorCal Wine Blog
Tasting the Wines of Andrew Murray Vineyards
- Wine Reviews
- Written by Fred Swan
- Tuesday, 08 October 2013 00:57
During my recent trip to Santa Barbara County I stopped in at the tasting room of Rhone-variety specialist Andrew Murray Vineyards. The tasting room, conveniently located on Grand Avenue in Los Olivos, is sleekly modern with surfaces of bright white, gleaming glass and chrome accented by splashes of color. Wine is the clear focus but there are a few other things on sale too, from gourmet chocolate bars to wine accessories. The tasting bar accommodates four stools and one or two standing customers. There’s additional seating along the side walls. It's open daily from 11am to 5pm.
Winemaker Andrew Murray Photo: Andrew Murray Vineyards
Andrew Murray’s tasting room manager kindly accommodated me before regular open hours, so I was able to focus fully on the wines. They are reasonably priced, ranging from $16 to $36, and all are bottled under screwcap and in light glass to reduce the carbon footprint. Quality was very good across the board.
2012 Andrew Murray RGB Camp 4 Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley, $25
This blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc straddles two worlds to good effect. There’s plenty of fruit but also mineral, full-bodied viscosity but freshness and silky texture. Aromas include peach blossom, spice, citrus rind, mineral and a chiffonade of herb. The weighty palate brings long-lasting, cool-climate flavors of under-ripe stone fruit, peach pit and mineral. Highly Recommended
2012 Andrew Murray Viognier Santa Maria Valley, $25
The Andrew Murray Viognier smells like a carefree summer’s day: frozen peaches, cotton candy, spice and citrus blossoms. There’s more frozen peach on the nearly full-bodied palate along with peach skin, lime and grapefruit pith plus minerality. Notable acidity and a fine powdery texture keep it clean and interesting. The mineral-dominated finish is lengthy. Recommended+
2011 Andrew Murray Syrah Thompson Vineyard (Los Alamos Valley, Santa Barbara County), $38
This deeply-colored Syrah smells deliciously of black cherry ice cream with a hint of herb and baking spice. The seductive palate is nearly full-bodied with moderate, fine-grained tannins and flavors of black cherry, briary blackberry, spice and mocha. Good length. Now through 2017. Highly Recommended
2011 Andrew Murray Syrah Three Creek Vineyard, Happy Canyon, $36
A very fruit-forward Syrah, the Andrew Murray Three Creek offers festive boysenberry, blackberry and baking spice on the nose. That follows through—at length—on the medium+ palate along with earth and moderate talc-like tannins. Straight-forward and but very tasty. Enjoy through 2015. Highly Recommended
2010 Andrew Murray Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard Paso Robles, $36
This site, near Paso Robles’ Adelaida District, brought ripe cherry ice cream, baking spice, vanilla and a hint of herb on the nose. The flavor of espresso is added to the mix on the palate which is medium+ in body. Tannins are moderate and talc-like but drying and cut into the finish. Try it with juicy grilled lamb chops or smokey baby back ribs. Highly Recommended
2012 Elleven Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley, $16
Elleven, it’s name an allusion to the famous Spinal Tap line, is an Andrew Murray brand focused on delivering value with varietals for which quality is elusive under $20. The Pinot Noir exceeds expectations, pleasing with plentiful, varietally-correct flavors. Brown spice leads earthy red cherry and dry herb on the nose and palate. The body is medium+ with talc-like tannins on the lean side of moderate. Juiciness balances the package. Recommended
2012 Elleven Big Bottom Red Blend, Santa Ynez Valley, $16
This wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, is not as broadly-proportioned as its name suggests but will get you farther on a date than singing the song in a girl’s ear. The gregarious nose lures you with currant leaf, black currant, mocha and red cherry. Flavors of red cherry, dark berries, spice, mocha and scattered dry leaves string you along. Moderate, talc-like tannins provide enough resistance to keep the chase interesting. Recommended
2012 Elleven Unplugged White Blend Santa Ynez Valley, $16
The name Unplugged is apt for this restrained blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. The medley of bell pepper, spice, gooseberry and lime salt struck a familiar chord but didn’t command my attention. Though the medium+ body satisfied and its light texture had raspy-voiced charm, the overall production didn't get me dancing.
Andrew Murray Vineyards offers other wines, including the Esperance Red Blend, a Mourvedre varietal and other single-vineyard Syrahs, but I didn’t taste them on this occasion.
Disclosures: The FTC has tightened its guidelines with respect to online ads, reviews, blogs, etc. in response to people who are passing paid ads off as personal recommendations or who accept samples of expensive hard goods in exchange for reviews. My lengthy disclosure here is meant to address those guidelines.
The reviews above reflect my personal experience with the product. It is not a paid ad, nor do I accept ads or compensation for reviews from wine producers. Reviews may cover products that I have purchased, received as samples, or tried under other circumstances I consider to be good tasting conditions. Receiving a product as a sample does not obligate me to review it positively (or at all) and I do not consider samples to be compensation or “free wine.” I have purchased plenty of wine over the years and have more of that than I can drink. Samples are opened for review purposes, not added to my personal cellar or taken to restaurants.
Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.
This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. The Andrew Murray Vineyards logo is a trademark of Andrew Murray Vineyards. All rights reserved.