Andrew Murray Vineyards
Today I am writing about 2 wines from Andrew Murray Vineyards, their Andrew Murray labeled Pinot Noir from Santa Ynez and their new offering “This is E11even” Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley. Both of these wines have similar price points and outstanding values. I recently met Andrew Murray at a tasting in Stew Leonard’s wine shop in Norwalk, CT (see picture of Andrew above). His wines were so popular that all of his higher priced offerings were sold prior to my arrival. However I was lucky enough to spend a few enjoyable minutes with Andrew discussing his wines, especially his new This is E11even offering. Hopefully my wine shop will restock and I will grab a few bottles of the wines I did not get to taste and report back in the future.
Andrew Murray 2013 Tous Les Jours Santa Ynez Valley Syrah
Andrew Murray fell in love with the emerging Rhône varieties, Syrah and Viognier, in the late 1980’s while traveling through France’s Rhône Valley. Leaving his UC Berkeley paleontology studies behind, he pursued his new mistress, Syrah, with an internship in Australia. His three-month tryst evolved into a 15-month romance with the famed Australian Shiraz. Returning to the states, he earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis’ renowned wine program, then founded his eponymous Santa Ynez winery and vineyard.
Opening a bottle, I see a Deep Ruby color with intense dark fruit aromas. The palate brings rich black fruit flavors, sweet spice, cedar like oak, subtle tannins, good balance and structure with a medium finish. Tremendous value!
This is E11even 2013 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Andrew Murray once dreamed of becoming a rock star (most kids wanted to be a firefighter or astronaut). But instead he became one of the youngest winemakers during California’s wine boom in the late 1990s. Andrew has also been instrumental in California’s “Rhône Rangers” movement, as he and his family based their wine project on Syrah and other Rhône varieties at a time when these wines had little recognition in California. His “This is E11even” label is a tribute to his teenage ambitions and a nod to a scene in the movie “This Is Spinal Tap” where a character’s guitar amp volume dial goes up to 11, Andrew, with these wines, plays with convention, sometimes blending together varieties to achieve a flavor profile rather than adhering to common practice. Though best known for his Rhône reds, Andrew casts his eye on another Central Coast specialty, Pinot Noir, and shows that he’s just as capable of coaxing out the best qualities in that variety.
Opening a bottle, sealed with a Stelvin screw-cap, because Andrew said corks work about as well as his old 8-tracks! I notice a vivid ruby red color with a bouquet of fresh red fruit, made from 5 different Pinot Noir clones. The palate reveals cherries, red plums and strawberry flavors with a gentle touch of spice and floral notes layered into a soft structure. The medium body wine finished nicely with a slightly tangy smoky oak flavor. Melodious, only 1,111 cases were produced, so grab a guitar and Rock-on!