"Wine criticism is completely subjective, and this wine hits home with this particular critic in a head rush of memories: a field of thyme and strawberries, the feel of velvet moss on stone. Whether or not those places exist in your own sense memory, there's a beautiful wine here (aside from the fact that you'll be hard pressed to find as good a pinot noir for anything like the price). The Gallos blend this wine from Two Rock Vineyard in Cotati with other vineyards, mainly in Carneros. They hit a ripeness in 2002 that tastes of blackberries and raspberries fresh off the vine. The flavors are luscious yet architectural, with dark spices adding structure. And in the end, the spice and fruit doesn't strip. Buy a case or more. It's pure and delicious." -Wines & Spirits
The wine displays rich, ripe Pinot Noir flavors of red and black cherries, roses and strawberries, complemented by herb, spice, and subtle vanilla characteristics.
The original homestead on MacMurray Ranch was settled over 150 years ago in Sonoma County. Actor Fred MacMurray purchased the ranch in the 1940's and made it his home for over 50 years. Today, surrounded by vineyards, this homestead lends its name to some of California's best Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
The 2001 Mac Murray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was blended from grapes grown in gently rolling hillsides near the north shore of San Pablo Bay, in the southern reach of the Sonoma Coast growing region.
MacMurray Ranch Winery
MacMurray Ranch was purchased from the Porter family by famed actor Fred MacMurray in 1941. Fred raised his family on the ranch and they enjoyed the natural wonders of Sonoma County. Today, the ranch looks much as it did a century ago, surrounded by rail fences and framed by oak and redwood groves. Only now it is home to some of Sonoma County's finest vineyards. Aside from being beautiful, the Russian River Valley is among the premier growing regions for Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. MacMurray Ranch speaks to the legacy of the land by crafting wines from this appellation with elegance and finesse.
The wines of MacMurray Ranch are crafted with care by winemaker Susan Doyle, who has a patient, gentle approach that gets the best out of Pinot Noir and its cousin Pinot Gris. Susan is guiding the wines of MacMurray Ranch to achieve both depth and the finely nuanced range of flavors that expresses the nature of the place where they were born. With her university studies in both winegrowing and winemaking, Susan makes wines that reflect the old Burgundian sense of "terroir", the special qualities that weather, land, and the hand of man that give her wines their individual distinction.
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Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.