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Murphy-Goode Pinot Blanc 1998
In the beginning, only the Murphy family's ranch and the Murphy-Goode Vineyard provided the grapes. Over the years, Murphy-Goode Winery steadily increased production, expanding the winery capacity and augmenting the harvest with fruit from the winery's "grower partners," local farmers and neighbors who shared the Murphy-Goode vision.
Initially the partners custom-crushed their grapes at a neighboring winery; consultant Merry Edwards guided the winemaking. After constructing a modest production facility on Tim Murphy's Alexander Valley ranch in 1987, they hired Winemaker Christina Benz. Chris made fifteen vintages of Murphy-Goode wine before turning the winemaking over to David Ready Jr. in 2001.
In recent years, the winery's focus has shifted from primarily white wine to distinctive red wines, particularly Bordeaux blends. Today, Murphy's three sons oversee the vineyards. Dave Ready's two sons make the wine. With exceptional grapes, inspired winemaking and the guiding values of the founding partners, the Murphy-Goode team is entering a fresh, new era of excellence.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
Lightly aromatic, pleasantly soft, and always approachable, Pinot Blanc is best known in Alsace, where it is considered a workhorse variety that takes a backseat to the more complex Pinot Gris. A white mutation of Pinot Noir, it produces easy-drinking, enjoyable wines here. In Italy, as Pinot Bianco, it gets a little more complex, especially in the mountainous Alto Adige region. It is perhaps most successful as Weissburgunder in Germany and Austria, where the wines are subtle, delicate, surprisingly complex, and age-worthy. There is also some Pinot Blanc performing well in Oregon and cooler pockets of California.
In the Glass
Typically, Pinot Blanc has a relatively full body and expresses simple but pleasing aromas of crisp green apple, pear, citrus, and white flowers. The finest examples possess stony minerality and occasionally ripe stone fruit flavors, and with age can develop intriguing notes of honey, vanilla, and almond.
Delicate Pinot Blanc works well with lighter fare such as salads, seafood, chicken, or turkey, but is truly at its best with Alsatian pairings like Hollandaise dishes, onion tarts, or the region’s notable soft cheeses such as Muenster.
Pinot Blanc’s delicate aromatics, full body, and moderate acidity make it a great alternative to the world’s most popular white wine. Anyone experiencing Chardonnay fatigue and looking to try something new would benefit from giving Pinot Blanc a try.