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. Andrew and his family were drawn to the natural beauty, climate, soils and topography of Santa Barbara County. It all reminded him of his travels through the Rhône Valley where he first fell in love with the notion of winegrowing while just a teenager.
Andrew’s focus and dedication to his craft have culminated in what Robert Parker, Jr. calls, “…one of the shining stars in the Santa Barbara firmament.” This perennially youthful perfectionist has been named ‘Tastemaker of the Year’ by Food and Wine Magazine, as well as, ‘One of the most fearsome talents in food and wine.’ Still, despite myriad accolades, Andrew remains the same modest, approachable, contemplative man he was when he first embarked to Australia back in 1992. He is eternally committed to vinicultural ‘Kaizen’ – the unrelenting pursuit of continuous improvement.
As Robert Parker, Jr. put it, “…Andrew Murray’s offerings are a breath of fresh air given their exceptionally high quality and realistic prices – reader take note.” We hope you’ll come visit us and delight in sampling the fruits of Andrew’s passionate labors.
Paso Robles has made a name for itself as a source of supple, powerful, fruit-driven Central Coast wines. But with eleven smaller sub-AVAs, there is actually quite a bit of diversity to be found in this inland portion of California’s Central Coast.
Just east over the Santa Lucia Mountains from the chilly Pacific Ocean, lie the coolest in the region: Adelaida, Templeton Gap and (Paso Robles) Willow Creek Districts, as well as York Mountain AVA and Santa Margarita Ranch. These all experience more ocean fog, wind and precipitation compared to the rest of the Paso sub-appellations. The San Miguel, (Paso Robles) Estrella, (Paso Robles) Geneso, (Paso Robles) Highlands, El Pomar and Creston Districts, along with San Juan Creek, are the hotter, more western appellations of the greater Paso Robles AVA.
This is mostly red wine country, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel standing out as the star performers. Other popular varieties include Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Grenache and Rhône blends, both red and white. There is a fairly uniform tendency here towards wines that are unapologetically bold and opulently fruit-driven, albeit with a surprising amount of acidity thanks to the region’s chilly nighttime temperatures.
Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha), today it is more recognized as the key player in the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its villages. Somm Secret—The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic, single varietal Grenache (there called Cannonau). California, Washington and Australia have achieved found success with Grenache, both flying solo and in blends.