Friday, June 19, 2015

SBC Tasting Room: Andrew Murray Vineyards

We made a trip out of Los Angeles to Santa Barbara County wine country recently. My wife and I, along with our good and dear friend Guido love this trip. We pass the roughly two hours in the car by making our own little version of the Algonquin Round Table. Bon mots and witticisms are the rule. The stop in Camarillo to have a bagel and coffee is mandatory and the Trader Joe’s on Milpas provides our picnic lunch. Usually it’s a loaf of bread, some cheese, avocados and olives.

This short series describes some of the wines we sampled in the various tasting rooms we visited.

Andrew Murray Vineyards is now located the property formerly known as Curtis Winery, at the Los Olivos end of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. Winemaker Andrew Murray leased the estate and the winemaking facility from the Firestone family in an effort to grow his line. He also continues to make a limited selection of wines under the Curtis label. Murray still has his longtime tasting room location on Grand Avenue in Los Olivos, but his newly remodeled tasting room at the Foxen Canyon location is simply a delightful wine country stop.

Both tasting rooms offer the Rhone Zone Flight for $15 and the Los Olivos room also has a Current Flight for $12. Sweets fans will want to look into the Chocolate Flight, which features a pairing with Truffles for $20. Group tastings and privately hosted tours are also available.

I was celebrating spring and anticipating summer on this visit, so I tried two whites and a rosé at the winery.

The Andrew Murray Vineyards 2014 Viognier is quite pale in the glass, showing honeysuckle and citrus on the nose. The palate is just great, with a lemon custard flavor and an excellent acidity. The grapes for this wine are from the Santa Maria Valley. $25

AMV’s 2013 Enchanté White Blend is a half and half blend of Roussane and Grenache Blanc. As expected with those two white Rhône grapes, there are aromas of wet rocks, nuts and apricots. Acidity is again outstanding and the palate displays beautiful Meyer lemon which travels seamlessly into a long, nutty finish. The wine is aged half in steel and half in neutral French oak barrels. Murray promises it will “age gracefully for years.” $25

Murray’s Espérance Rosé 2014 has a beautiful salmon color, and is light and delicate. The strawberry nose delights, as do the cherry-strawberry fruit flavors. It's a great dry rosé, made from nearly 100% Cinsault grapes grown on the Curtis estate. Aged in steel, the wine is crisp, dry and completely refreshing. $20