In last week’s post on GCV we touted the wines from Santa Barbara wineries Zaca Mesa and Rancho Sisquoc. These were two of several wineries we visited on our weeklong Santa Barbara wine excursion. We ended our trek with perhaps saving the best for last. We had a wonderful visit and tasting with Andrew Murray. Andrew founded Andrew Murray Vineyards in 1990 and produces Rhone-Style wines that have been well recognized for their quality and value.
We met Andrew at his winery on Zaca Station Road, just a few miles from the wine town of Los Olivos. We tasted through his entire lineup of wines, including wines in the tank ready to be bottled. More fun was the chance to chat with Andrew. We learned how his love for wine began at 18 years of age with an excursion with his parents to the Rhone Valley. We enjoyed stories about local wineries, wine owners, and winemakers.
He is a fascinating character, free spirited, and it is certainly clear that he very much enjoys making wine.
Andrew Murray with Viognier
Andrew Murray wine recommendations
Andrew Murray Viognier 2012
We began our tasting with a delicious and wonderful Viognier from the Santa Maria AVA. This 2012 vintage was just released, and I am very anxious to see if we can find it locally. At the winery it is $22 but my guess is the likes of K&L Wines and other retailers will price it under $20. This is a delightfully crisp and fruity wine, and a lighter style than most Viognier produced in California. Now I wish that I’d purchased more. 89 Points
Andrew Murray Syrah 2011 – $12.99 K&L Wines
The biggest bang for the buck is the Andrew Murray 2011 “Tous les Jours” Syrah from the Santa Ynez Valley. The wine has white pepper aroma and delicious fruit flavors and has an amazing finish for such an inexpensive wine. Wine & Spirits has it on its “best buy” list at 92 Points. I won’t go that high but I will rate it at 90 pts. The best part for us, the wine is available locally at K&L Wines for $12.99.
Andrew Murray “Tour Les Jours” Syrah
E11even 2012 Unplugged
We tasted from the tank some wines that are under a second label called E11even. We mentioned earlier that Andrew Murray’s focus was Rhone-style wines. With his desire to branch out, Andrew recently launched a new label. These wines are priced at the winery for $16, but can be found elsewhere for much less. For example, KL Wines carries two of these wines for $11.99 and $12.99. We have not tasted these, but what we did taste was the 2012 E11even Unplugged in the stainless steel tank, a white blend of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. Wow, crisp and refreshing! When this is bottled, I will jump all over this wine. KL Wine carries the 2010 vintage, so I would expect they will carry this wine once it is released. I will hold off on a rating until I taste the wine off the shelf.
Andrew Murray told us that he has made an agreement with the Whole Foods Stores in Southern California, and that the stores will be carrying the E11even wines. Perhaps that will eventually bring some of these wines to the Northern California Whole Foods Stores.
If you happen upon any of the Andrew Murray wines at your local wine shop, we recommend you give them a try. Let us know where you purchased them and what you think.
You may also want to read this post the Andrew Murray wrote on The Wine Travelers in 2011. In the post, he writes about the Santa Barbara wine country.