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.
With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by moist ocean fog and breezes, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate Central Coast wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, producing wines marked by racy acidity. Crisp Sauvignon Blanc and savory Syrah are also important. The region is home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”